Leeds' new Rob Burrow MND centre to be at heart of community efforts in 2022

Plans to build a state-of-the-art centre to treat motor neurone disease (MND) in Leeds will be invested in across the community in 2022 according to the leader of the charity heading a £5m fundraising drive.

Mr Burrow, who was diagnosed with MND in December 2019, has said he wants the centre to be a “calming and tranquil sanctuary.”
Mr Burrow, who was diagnosed with MND in December 2019, has said he wants the centre to be a “calming and tranquil sanctuary.”

Fundraising for the new centre, to be named after former Leeds Rhinos ace Rob Burrow who is living with MND), has already seen over £1.3m donated.

Mr Burrow, who was diagnosed with MND in December 2019, has said he wants the centre to be a “calming and tranquil sanctuary.”

Esther Wakeman, chief executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals Charity, said: “We’ve already seen how incredibly supportive local people have been.

“Hopefully that will continue and I know there are some amazing events planned next year.

“We’re really looking forward to being in a position to put some plans in place for the centre and share them with people.

“I really think this is a project that is going to be at the heart of people’s minds, and everybody in the community is going to feel invested in this because so many people have either fundraised for it or they’ve donated towards it.

Leeds’ current MND facilities, in Seacroft, are in early 20th century buildings which are no longer fit for purpose, and which are not suitable for modern equipment and mobility aids.

Some 40 people are referred to the centre each year.

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A date has not yet been set for ground to be struck on the new centre and talks to decide its exact location are ongoing.

Ms Wakeman said: “People’s condition with motor neurone disease can deteriorate very, very quickly.

“We want to make sure it’s up and running as soon as possibleso people can benefit from it.”

Paying tribute to Rob Burrow, who has campaigned extensively both for the new centre and for research into MND, Ms Wakeman said: “Rob is a remarkable individual, and if you look back at his playing career, he wasn’t one for the limelight.

“I think the only reason he’s happy to show us what it’s like is because he understands how that is going to help other people get diagnosed earlier.”