BBC Two has commissioned a half hour documentary from BBC Breakfast which follows Rugby League legend Rob Burrow and his family as he lives with motor neurone disease (MND).
In December 2019, dubbed one of Rugby League’s greatest players, Rob was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and told he may only have a year to live, two at the most.
Rob Burrow: Living With MND airs this Autumn, and takes an intimate look at his life now, as 40-year-old Rob has passed his two year life expectancy and has survived a global pandemic.
It follows the love and support of Rob’s family, friends and the wider Rugby League community. The documentary shows his wife, Lindsey, who Rob met when they were teenagers, care for him as she juggles looking after their three young children Macy (10), Maya (7), and Jackson (3), as well working for the NHS as a physiotherapist. It will show the huge role his parents Geoff and Irene play to the 24-hour care Rob needs.
The documentary will also visit the NHS staff treating Rob in hospital in West Yorkshire, and audiences will see his former team mate at Leeds Rhinos, Kevin Sinfield OBE who has raised millions for MND research since his best friend was diagnosed nearly three years ago.
The documentary witnesses Rob at some of his most intimate and vulnerable moments – when Lindsey carries him up to bed, to when he’s being his cheekiest, using his voicebox to tell his mum Irene that “she has a gob on her”, as well as showing Rob on dad duties, beaming with pride as he watches his children at their school sports day.
His story is one of courage and never giving up, he says: “I’m a prisoner in my own body, that’s the way MND gets you, the lights are on, but no one’s home. I think like you, but my mind doesn’t work right. I can’t move my body.”
Rob states throughout the documentary that “he’s not giving in, right until his last breath”, as he has “too many reasons to live”.
Sally Nugent, BBC Breakfast presenter who has become friends with the Burrow family comments: “This film shares the brutal reality of living with motor neurone disease, not just for Rob, but the impact it has on his whole family and friends. What he is doing will have a lasting legacy for people diagnosed today and in years to come.
“The documentary is an unflinching look at life through Rob’s eyes. We see him fight daily for small victories that we might take for granted. Every breath is a battle. Every moment with his family is a win for them all...
"But he is as funny today as he was the first day I met him, when he was just one of the greatest rugby league players of all time. He is still that, and so much more.”
BBC Breakfast has followed Rob since his diagnosis back in December 2019. A documentary broadcast In 2020, Rob Burrow: My Year with MND was shot primarily by Rob and his family in lockdown during the height of Covid 19.
Watch Rob Burrow: Living with MND on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer at 7pm on Tuesday 18 October.