Football star runs to the aid of sick ex-teammate
A MIDDLESBROUGH FC coach is using his daily exercise to run 100 kilometres around his Cockfield home in aid of a former teammate struck by a debilitating illness.
Tony McMahon was so moved by former Bradford City player Stephen Darby’s fight against motor neurone disease (MND) that he has roped in his entire family, including one-year-old daughter, into his challenge.
Within days of starting the fundraising effort, the footballer had already raised more than £6,000 for the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation.
The foundation launched a 100K in May challenge to raise cash for research into the illness, which affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord and can leave sufferers unable to do basic things like wash, dress or feed themselves.
Mr McMahon said: “The response has been unbelievable. When I set it up, I had no idea it would take off the way it has. Some big names I have played with have put it on their social media and the sponsors just keep coming in.”
Mr McMahon is joined by his 11-year old son, Luca, in the challenge who aims to complete it through a mix of running and cycling.
Meanwhile his wife, Lindsey, is walking the challenge with six-year-old daughter, Myla, while pushing one-year-old, Luna, in a buggy. Of the 100K in May challenge, Mr McMahon said: “It is brilliant the amount of people doing it. It is inspirational.
“He [Stephen Darby] is an amazing fella – everyone who played with him will tell you he is the nicest guy, a real pro.
“As a captain everyone loved him; the fans loved him. I spoke to him this morning – it was the same banter as we always had.
“I can’t imagine what he and his family are going through.”
Elsewhere, Mr McMahon is using his contacts to help others in their fundraising efforts.
Among those he has helped is nine-year-old footballer Alfie Metcalfe, from Evenwood, who was surprised with a personal video message from Manchester United captain Harry Maguire offering words of encouragement for a cycle ride he did for a good cause.
To support Mr McMahon’s campaign visit justgiving.com