Ed Slater: Kevin Sinfield hails MND fundraising lockdown as ‘another champion’

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A series of other events will follow in support of the 4Ed campaign set up by Slater and Gloucester

Kevin Sinfield has hailed Ed Slater as “another champion in the sport of rugby” after his first day of fundraising for motor neurone disease.

Lock Forward Slater, 33, retired last month after being diagnosed with MND.

He cycled from Gloucester to Leicester on Monday at the start of a three-day, 350-mile journey to raise research funds.

“We should celebrate the wonderful thing he is doing,” Sinfield told BBC Radio Leicester.

“The fact that Ed is involved and wants to be front and center, former teammates have jumped on board and it just shows what rugby is about, he takes care of himself and it’s remarkable what they do.”

Leicester Tigers defense coach Sinfield has himself raised millions for motor neuron disease research, inspired by the story of former Leeds Rhinos teammate Rob Burrow who was diagnosed with disease in 2019.

Last year, Sinfield traveled 101 miles in 24 hours from Leicester’s Mattioli Woods Welford Road ground to Headingley Stadium in Leeds.

Slater spent seven years with the Tigers, winning the Premiership title in 2013, before joining Gloucester in 2017 and he played the last of 78 games for Cherry and Whites in January.

The second day of his ride, accompanied by former teammates including Lewis Ludow, Fraser Balmain and Billy Twelvetrees and friends, will take him to Twickenham via Milton Keynes, where he first played club rugby.

Wednesday’s final leg will cover the 106 miles from Twickenham to Gloucester’s Kingsholm Stadium.

“I didn’t know what to expect yesterday. It was tough but I really enjoyed it and the band are amazing,” he told BBC Breakfast before leaving Leicester.

“Again, there’s a bit of fear in there, but we’ll get through this. You just put your head down, keep turning your legs and we’ll get there eventually.”

He added: “I had never met Kev before, and having him come and talk to me yesterday was huge because I look up to him and I think he’s done an amazing job.

“If I can do even a fraction of what Kev Sinfield did, then I will have achieved something.”

MND is a degenerative disease that affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord.

Scottish rugby union lock Doddie Weir and former footballers Stephen Darby and Len Johnrose have also been diagnosed with MND in recent years and have also campaigned actively to raise awareness of the disease.

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