The people of Yorkshire have rallied to the cause, whether it is backing events such as Burrow’s former team-mate Kevin Sinfield’s seven marathons in seven days, 101 miles in 24 hours or a race night at a local cricket club.
As of the beginning of this month, the appeal that started in September 2021, had surpassed the £2m mark and has since been boosted by two major events - the Strictly Burrow Ball and the announcement of the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon for 2023, created in partnership with Leeds City Council and Run For All.
Last month, Burrow’s sisters Claire and Jo, set themselves a target of making £100,000 with the 400 seater sell-out ball, a take on the BBC favourite, featuring sports stars and celebrities taking to the dance floor at a glittering evening at the Headingley Stadium.
And last week, the marathon was announced with proceeds going to the Leeds Hospitals Charity, which is overseeing fundraising for what will be The Rob Burrow Centre for MND, and also the MND Association.
Speaking exclusively to The Yorkshire Post, Burrow’s doctor, Agam Jung, who has been campaigning for years for better MND care in West Yorkshire for patients and their families, says she is not surprised by the amounts that have been made so far.
Dr Jung said: “I am not surprised by it at all because of two things, first the inspirational person that Rob is and second, I see love and kindness in my clinic all the time. I believe that is outside. People donate £1 or £2 and when you read the comments some people are on benefits and their allowance has not come through and that is all they could donate. That is huge for me.
“While he is a rugby legend, as a person and member of society he is hugely inspiring in the way he is battling. There is something really special about that boy.”
Despite his illness, Burrow has placed himself in the public domain, telling his story and using his platform to raise awareness about MND, ask questions about it and campaign for research, treatments and cures.
All along he has said he is doing this for people that are not in the public eye.
His MND journey has seen him collect an MBE at Windsor Castle, write a book, film a documentary and attend the National Television awards amongst many other engagements.
Dr Jung, a consultant neurologist with Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust based at Seacroft Hospital, said keeping busy and focused is playing an important part in his battle with MND.
She said: “A rugby player at that level, like Kevin Sinfield, these are athletes - their mental space is another level. To deal with this and take a decision that you will not let this bring you down and have goals and positivity - that absolutely makes a difference in your ability to cope.
“His positive attitude and hope for a cure, plans for a MND centre, plans to raise awareness is exactly what I believe the ethos of the centre to be, to live in the now.”
Dr Jung has set out her specific requirements for what the centre should include, such as a warm and welcoming environment, non clinical looking rooms, a focus on nature and access to technology.
The first sets of drawings have been produced and are with architects and designers so the project can be progressed as quickly as possible once the full amount is raised.
Dr Jung added: “It is a very emotional journey for me. Something that I never thought would be possible when I first had the idea because I thought nobody would be interested - Rob Burrow has changed everything.”