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March of the day: Stephen Darby leads 178-mile walk for MND

Former Liverpool defender, Stephen Darby, is leading a group of fundraisers on a 175-mile walk across the United Kingdom for the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation and the wider MND community.

Darby, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2018, will be joined by several members of the football community on the march which will take them to 17 different football stadiums across three days.

The disease has become more spoken about in the sporting community in recent years thanks to the efforts of Darby, as well as former Rugby League player, Rob Burrow, who also suffers from the crippling and terminal disease.

Burrow was at the start line alongside around 200 other individuals who are all participating to raise awareness and funds to go towards MND research. Burrow's wife, Lindsey, was also in attendance on commented on how “incredible” it was to see the number of people who has turned up to support the cause.

March of the day
Stephen Darby and partner Steph Houghton pictured in 2019 shortly after his diagnosis was made public – Photo by Icon Sport

Bradford to Liverpool via 15 other stadiums

The three-day walk started this morning at Bradford City's Valley Parade and will finish at Anfield on Sunday. Speaking before the walk, former Bradford and Bolton player, Flipe Morais, said on behalf of Darby:

“Stephen is doing great in himself. Mentally, he is so, so strong. But it's a cruel disease that breaks you down very slowly and very cruelly.”

Darby has been battling against the disease for six years now despite life expectancy being under five years from diagnosis. In December 2023, he shared pictures of some of the head injuries he has suffered due to the disease as it has stopped him from being able to hold himself up when he falls over.

Former Huddersfield striker, Marcus Stewart, is another sufferer but is also another example of someone who is beating the odds. He was diagnosed in September 2022 but is still living a relatively normal life. He is set to participate in the entire walk and at the start line, he said:

“Things haven't progressed so quickly for me, I'm still able to walk, talk, do most things and live a pretty normal life. It's hard to put into words what it's like being involved with the MND community. I'm doing the best I can to help everyone.”


Andy Delaney

Andy is a freelance sports writer with ten years of experience covering major sporting events across Europe. He has also been a season ticket holder at Old Trafford since 2008 and has visited over 40 football stadiums in the United Kingdom and abroad following the Reds.

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