Heartbreaking photos show former rugby league star Rob Burrow being carried around his house and fed by his wife Lindsey – as she refuses help from carers, insisting ‘he would do the same for me’.
Burrow, who was diagnosed with motor neuron disease (MND) in 2019, now weighs only seven kilograms, is non-verbal and can only eat liquid foods that his wife spoon-fed him.
The 40-year-old, a father of three, also has to sleep downstairs and some nights he needs a fan to reduce the high levels of carbon dioxide in his body.
But his determined wife refuses help from caretakers and equipment, instead carrying him through their house and from his wheelchair to the car.
Speaking for new ITV documentary Lindsey and Rob: Living with MND, which airs tomorrow, she vowed to continue to care for her beloved husband ‘as long as I am physically able’, adding: ‘I know he will do the same for me. would do’ .
Burrow, who was diagnosed with motor neuron disease (MND) in 2019, now weighs only seven kilograms, is non-verbal and can only eat liquid foods that his wife spoon-fed him
The 40-year-old, a father of three, also has to sleep downstairs and some nights he needs a fan
Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield crossed the finish line of the 2023 Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon last month
Lindsey said The mirror: ‘We haven’t really talked about the possibility of carers. We don’t want stair lifts, lifts and stuff, for me it could get quite clinical.
“You just want to do what you can while you can, as long as you can.” He’s my husband, I want to take care of him. You say those vows, in sickness and in health, that’s what you want to do.
“He’ll often say, ‘Thank you for taking care of me. I wouldn’t be here if you weren’t doing these things.’ I know how grateful he is.
“It’s not easy being a carer, but when I see what Rob took from him, I have nothing to complain about.”
The couple have been married for 17 years and first met when the former rugby league star was a ‘shy’ 15-year-old.
But their relationship changed forever after Rob’s diagnosis four years ago.
Burrow spent his entire career with Leeds making 492 appearances as well as winning 15 caps for England and five for Great Britain. He retired after winning his eighth Super League Grand Final in 2017 and subsequently became the head coach of the club’s reserve team.
He revealed the ALS diagnosis in an emotional statement in December 2019.
Lindsey continues to work as an NHS physiotherapist once a week, a day when Rob’s parents look after him, and she spends the rest of the time looking after their three children at their home in Castleford, West Yorkshire.
Rob was given two years to live after the diagnosis and now has no voluntary control of movement apart from his eyes, which he uses to spell out messages on a screen and tell his wife ‘he couldn’t be prouder’.
But Lindsey admits, “I don’t think he can get any worse.”
She also opened up about asking her husband questions about his funeral wishes, with Rob telling her she’s “still young” and “should find someone else.”
And Lindsey talked about how former teammate Kevin Sinfield should be knighted for his fundraising efforts.
Rob Burrow held by his wife Lindsey in a swimming pool during a physiotherapy session
Rob Burrow pictured ahead of the 2023 Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon, which started and finished at Headingley Stadium last month
Rob was carried across the finish line at the inaugural Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon by Sinfield last month after being pushed around the 26-mile course in a wheelchair.
The pair raised money for motor neurone disease (MND) charities and used a specially adapted seat to compete alongside 12,500 other runners in the first Leeds Marathon in 20 years.
Rugby coach Sinfield has raised more than £8 million for MND charities since friend and former Leeds Rhinos teammate Burrow was diagnosed in late 2019.
The 42-year-old also completed his Ultra 7 in 7 Challenge in November, when he ran seven back-to-back ultra-marathons, covering about 40 miles each day.