Rob Burrow may be confined to a wheelchair and able to communicate only with the aid of voice technology but he continues to inspire his family to live life to the full, says his wife Lindsey.
The 39-year-old former Leeds and Great Britain scrum-half was given two years to live when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in December 2019 but he refuses to give up the fight.
Instead he has thrown himself into a campaign to raise awareness of the condition and help raise funds to find a cure and it is a combination of that steadfast determination and positive mindset that is driving Lindsey, who is acting as a full-time carer for her husband while bringing up their three young children.
“I think Rob has instilled in us not to give up, to carry on fighting and being brave and to move forward no matter how hard or tough things get,” she told the PA news agency.
“There are dark times but we carry on, we try and make the most of life. No matter how tough it gets, you can still turn it into something good.
“I have three beautiful children and an amazing husband – I have so much to be grateful for.”
Burrow’s daughters Macy and Maya designed the Leeds shirt for the recent Magic Weekend and head coach Rohan Smith revealed a pre-match visit from the family had inspired his team to pull off an emphatic win over Castleford.
“In many ways the kids are just like Dad – resilient and brave,” Lindsey added. “They wake up every morning with big smiles on their faces and that gives us a reason to keep going.
“It is hugely important to us that, despite our situation, the children have as normal and happy childhood as possible. Their happiness and well-being is paramount.
“We feel so lucky and fortunate to have three amazing children. We could not be more proud of Macy, Maya and Jackson.”
In his autobiography, ‘Too Many Reasons to Live’, which was a best-seller when it was published earlier this year by Macmillan, the rugby all-time great revealed how crying was banned in the Burrow household and he has managed to maintain his cheery outlook on life despite his constant battle with his terminal illness.
Asked if the couple had discussed what the future holds, Lindsey replied: “Life sometimes puts us on a path that we never thought we’d be on.
“If there’s one thing MND has has taught me, it’s not to take things for granted; to make the most of what you have, not what you don’t have: to live in the here and now.
“Despite the heart-breaking and devastating effects of MND, we will keep smiling and living life to the fullest.”
Burrow, who won eight Grand Finals in a glittering career with the Rhinos, has provided an update on his battle with MND, his latest fund-raising plans and the care centre due to be opened in Leeds in his name in a new chapter of his book, which is now out in paperback.