Rob Burrow has described the government's pledge to commit £50million towards research into Motor Neurone Disease (MND) as "the best news."
The money will fund 'new, innovative projects' to help researchers better understand the disease and its related conditions, and develop and test treatments with the ultimate aim of finding a cure for those living with MND.
The move represents a u-turn in Downing Street, after the decision in October's Government spending review not to allocate the funding prompted fury from members of the United to End MND campaign.
Two outspoken critics were rugby league legend Burrow, who was diagnosed with the condition in December 2019, and his father Geoff, who said at the time he was "absolutely disgusted" by the announcement.
However, both have now expressed their delight at the apparent change of heart, with Burrow senior tweeting "What wonderful news that the Government have agreed to the £50million pounds, over 5 years, to fund finding a cure for MND.
"THANK YOU TO EVERYONE FOR ALL SUPPORT – too many people to thank personally. God Bless you ALL x."
Burrow, 39, replied to the post by saying "The best news dad x."
Followers of the former Leeds Rhinos player also lauded the news, with @LorraineJenki17 writing "Well done to your amazing family and all who have raised the profile of MND.
"We, like so many others have made it our number one charity to support. We have no one in our family with this terrible condition, but being part of the Rhinos family we feel that Rob is our brother."
Burrow won eight Super League titles, two Challenge Cups and three World Club Championships with the Rhinos in a stellar career, that also saw him represent England and Great Britain.
Since his diagnosis, he has publicly campaigned to raise awareness of MND, and his tireless work and courage have received widespread praise.
In December 2020, he was awarded an MBE for his services to both rugby league and the MND community, and in March this year was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Sport Science by Leeds Beckett University.
The documentary Rob Burrow: My Year With MND , which gave an intricate insight into how the star and his family had coped since his diagnosis, was nominated for a National Television Award in September.
In September, he and other members of the Unite to End MND group travelled to No 10 Downing Street to campaign for extra funding.
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