Rob and Kevin, along with their team-mates, backroom staff and supporters at Leeds Rhinos, have worked tirelessly to fundraise and raise awareness of MND since Rob’s diagnosis in December 2019.
Kevin was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in recognition of his incredible fundraising efforts. And thousands of people have taken on fundraising challenges inspired by Rob and the club’s efforts with the current total standing at nearly £3 million.
Existing Patrons of the charity include Professor Sir Colin Blakemore, Chris Broad, Benedict Cumberbatch, Baroness Finlay, Charlotte Hawkins, Eddie Redmayne and Jeremy Vine.
MND Association Chief Executive Sally Light said: “Our Board of Trustees was unanimous in the decision to invite Rob and Kevin to join the MND Association as Patrons.
"The strength, courage and friendship shown by both men over the last 18 months has captured the heart of a nation, not just the MND community, and has resulted in a huge increase in awareness of motor neurone disease, and vital support for our work
“It has been a privilege to work with them over the last 18 months and we are very much looking forward to developing that relationship in their new role as Patrons.”
Rob said: “It is a huge honour to be invited to become a Patron of the MND Association and I am delighted to accept.
"I have seen first-hand the incredible work the charity does not just with those living with MND but also their families and loved ones. Personally, I would like to thank everyone who has taken part in the countless fundraising activities over the last 18 months to help raise funds to support the MND community and vital research.”
Kevin said: “I would like to thank the Association for inviting Rob and I to become Patrons.
"I have been so touched by the many stories I have heard from within the MND community and I am committed to continue my support to them for as long as it takes to find a break through.
"For those who knew Rob during his rugby career, he was always an inspiration but he has taken that to new level to motivate thousands of fundraisers to raise nearly £3 million in his name.
"On behalf of all of them, I would like to say a massive thank you to Rob and his family for the encouragement they give us all.”
And now Kevin has issued a challenge to supporters.
He said: “With the end of lockdown in sight I’d love everyone to think about what they can do to fundraise and get behind the 7 in 7 Challenge.
"It has been a tough year for everyone in the country and it would be great if people can now come up with their own challenge.
"Personally speaking, I got so much out of our 7 in 7 Challenge back in December and I would encourage everyone to get together with their mates and family to set their own target and try to help us get over the £3 million barrier.”
To celebrate becoming a Patron, Kevin Sinfield has taken to the streets of Saddleworth again today, setting off at 7am to run another marathon inspired by his friend Rob. You can support him here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sinfield-7-in-7You can listen to Kevin talking about his work with the Association on the first episode of our new podcast – MND Matters. Find out more on the website www.mndassociation.org/podcast