Calderdale mayor with same disease as Rob Burrow raises thousands with sponsored wheelchair push

A Calder Valley mayor living with an incurable disease was joined by a squad of supporters for an epic fundraising challenge.

By sarah fitton
Monday, 11th July 2022, 2:25 pm

Mayor of Luddenden Stephen Parker has Motor Neurone Disease (MND) - a progressive condition which former Leeds Rhinos player Rob Burrow has also been diagnosed with.

Stephen has been dedicating his year as mayor to raising funds for the MND Association, and on Saturday a team of volunteers helped him travel all the way from Morley to Luddenden in his wheelchair.

Parker’s Push saw him covering 19 miles, with friends, family and former work colleagues taking it in turns to push him along the way.

Stephen Parker and his supporters taking part in the challenge

When the team reached Luddenden, they were welcomed home by around 30 residents at The Lord Nelson pub.

The event raised more than £5,000, bringing Stephen’s total for the MND Association so far to over £16,000.

“The generosity of people was fantastic,” he said. “People were going out of their way to come over and donate.

“A lot of people were saying their parents or grandparents had MND, and with Rob Burrow raising awareness I think more people realise what MND is.

Luddenden residents welcome Stephen and the team home

“The response to all of this year’s fundraising has been fantastic. Every time we do something in the village, it gets a lot of support.

“It is just brilliant.”

Stephen was diagnosed with MND nearly two years ago.

He had gone to an appointment expecting more of the tests he had been having to investigate why he was swaying when he walked only to be told he had the progressive, currently incurable disease.

Stephen Parker is Mayor of Luddenden

He told the Courier last year: “It’s a case of right, you’ve got it, now get on with it.

“You have to deal with the hand you’ve been given. MND doesn’t give you any other choice.”

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