KEVIN Sinfield is ready for the biggest physical and emotional feat of this year’s Rugby League World Cup with a simple message – show us the money.
The Leeds Rhinos legend starts his Ultra 7 in 7, which will see him run from Murrayfield to Old Trafford, tomorrow.
In the name of pal and former team-mate Rob Burrow, Sinfield will add to the more than £5 million he has raised from two previous phenomenal tasks – running seven marathons in seven days and 101 miles straight.
The total already stands at more than £230,000 for motor neurone disease charities – but he wants a £50 million boost, £50 million the Government pledged.
Since Boris Johnson announced the commitment 12 months ago, there have been two further Prime Ministers, a financial disaster and seemingly zero handed over.
Ahead of the start in Edinburgh, where RU great Doddie Weir – who is living with MND – graced, Sinfield said: “It’s slow, really slow.
“I’m told it’s not too far away but to have an amount of money promised then put a load of red tape and bureaucracy in its place, I don’t understand it.
“It baffles me how we’ve got people dying and really struggling yet it’s OK to put red tape in place. That’s why we’ve got to carry on doing what we’re doing.
“That £50 million is for research to try and find a cure, which is brilliant. They’ve not parted with a penny and people who have no help are challenged by this every single day.
“There’s nothing put in place for the human side of things, the support, how do we help people’s kids and families? How do we make adjustments to homes to make it easier to live?
“We’ll do our own little bit while we can but that Government money needs to show up.”
Sinfield has been fitting his training around his job as defence coach at Leicester Tigers RU, starting training runs at 4am and finishing marathons at 10.45pm.
His course starts at Weir’s international home, the 41-year-old will run about 43 miles a day, taking in the Scotland great’s club, Melrose, Leeds, where him and Burrow are legends, Bradford, where footballer Stephen Darby was playing when he was diagnosed with MND before arriving at Old Trafford at half time of the Rugby League World Cup final next Saturday.
A fundraising target of £777,777 has been set but that is likely to be broken as the reaction to his challenges has been a learning experience.
Sinfield told SunSport: “I had some knowledge of it because of Doddie and his work but when we started the challenges, that opened my eyes massively.
“It’s because of the amount of people who stop me in the street, who refreshingly don’t want to talk about rugby anymore – they want to talk about MND and running – has been brilliant.
“The inspirational stories they’ve shared have been incredible. MND’s been there for a long time but it’s almost been kicked under the carpet.
“These people matter and we’ve got to try and help and change and give them some hope.
“Rob’s gone from a very private family man to opening his home to the UK.
“For the MND community, he’s been a beacon of light and hope as now people aren’t ashamed of the plight of either having MND or having a family member with it.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We have invested millions of pounds into MND research – leading to major advances in how the disease is understood – and we remain committed to spending at least another £50 million to help find a cure to this awful illness.
“We’ve already funded clinical trials for various drugs which have shown promise in tackling MND, and we encourage researchers to make applications for this funding – which is available right now.”
YOU can donate to Kevin Sinfield’s Ultra 7 in 7 by visiting https://donate.giveasyoulive.com/fundraising/kevin-sinfield-ultra-7-in-7-challenge
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