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29 March 2021

Keen runner Jenn Dodd is a Regional Fundraiser for Yorkshire, Humberside and the North East for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA). She talks about the huge impact of the Burrow Seven initiative in raising funds and awareness to help those living with or affected by MND.

I first became involved with the MND Association when I was a PhD student researching motor neurone disease and chose to run my first half marathon to support the local branch of the Association. This sparked my love of running and was the start of many events I have taken part in to raise funds and awareness of MND.

In 2019, I hung up my lab coat and started working for the Association as Regional Fundraiser for Yorkshire, Humberside and the North East. In 2020 I ran my first marathon for the MND Association! I work with a wide range of fundraisers in the region, including fundraisers at our local branches and groups.

Burrow Seven adventure a whole new world

Burrow Seven is a racehorse that was syndicated and supported by members who have paid to join the exclusive Burrow Seven Racing Club. All profits from the Club will be donated for MND research and recorded as part of former Rugby League star, Rob Burrow’s Fight Back Fund along with all prize money won by Burrow Seven.

I am really proud to support the Burrow Seven team with their fundraising. No one in my team at the Association had ever heard of owning a racehorse for fundraising purposes before, so we didn’t know what to expect with this new fundraising venture. We love it when an original idea comes along and this was a very exciting one! We have been overwhelmed with the support of Burrow Seven and the racing community and didn’t expect it would raise so much so quickly. In addition to the fundraising, Burrow Seven has also raised a huge amount of awareness and reached a whole new audience of people who might not have heard of MND before.

Why MND needs support

This partnership means a huge amount to the MND Association. The MND Association focuses on improving access to care, research and campaigning for those people living with or affected by MND in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. There are around 5,000 people living with MND in the UK at any one time and they are all in need of support. Raising awareness of MND is crucial and support like this and from everyone involved takes us closer to our vision – a world free from MND.

All of the funds raised from the Burrow Seven initiative are being restricted to MND research. As of December 31 2020, the MND Association research portfolio consisted of 85 grants at a total value of £14m. These fund a range of national and international research projects, which look at understanding the cause of MND, possible treatments, how MND progresses and improving standards of care for people with MND.

A personal story helping others

The support the Association has received from Burrow Seven and the racing community in the last four months is just incredible. Rob, his family and Burrow Seven have raised so much awareness for this brutal disease and inspired thousands of people to give generously or to set up their own fundraising challenges.

It is only thanks to this kind of generosity and fundraising that the MND Association can continue to invest in world-leading research which, we all hope, will lead to significant breakthroughs uncovering the causes and potential treatments for MND.

The fact that this fundraiser is unusual draws more attention to Burrow Seven, which creates even more awareness of MND.

Meeting Burrow Seven and Rob

I have met Burrow Seven at the yard along with Rob. It was so special to see Burrow Seven next to Rob and highlighted the incredible impact and work Burrow Seven will do for the MND community.

It was a fantastic to see where Burrow Seven lives and to meet some of his neighbours, as well as his wonderful trainer and seeing the special care and attention given to Burrow Seven daily and during his training.

We look forward to following Burrow Seven as he grows and develops and seeing him race in the future. I am sure the MND community will all be cheering him on when his race day comes!

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