On Tuesday afternoon we were delighted to welcome Len Johnrose to Springfields to speak to the first team squad and management.
Len came to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease – a condition he was diagnosed with in March 2017.
Midfielder Len, who played for North End in 1992, was enjoying life as a primary school teacher in Burnley before he was diagnosed with MND, of which there is no cure.
Len starting speaking out about MND, a disease which affects the nerves in the brain and the spinal cord and is a debilitating illness, and has set up the Len Johnrose Trust with the aim to go in to all 92 EFL clubs, under #Project92 hoping footballers will #PitchInToTackleMND.
On the project, Len said: “I remember when I first spoke out the head office of MND rang me. I thought ‘why are they ringing me?’ and they said they wanted people who were willing to bring it to the fore, to talk about it and help to raise awareness and educate people.”
“They said there had been famous people who had it and had never spoken out about it, which is their prerogative, but they were thankful to me.
“I want to raise awareness, I want people to understand it as there is an ignorance of the disease.
“It’s roughly one in 300 people who get MND. It’s a silent disease really and people don’t know much very much about it so I want to change that.
“Research has shown that people involved in contact sports are eight-and-a-half per cent more likely to be affected by MND – so there is a higher risk in professional sports people.
“Life’s not easy but you either keep going or go under and I have never been one to go under. I have a strong character and I have been touched by the response since I was diagnosed which is why I want to use my time left wisely.
“A third of people diagnosed with MND die within a year, I was diagnosed two years ago in March and it is a struggle do things like put your socks on, I can’t dress myself properly and I can’t hold a pen. I can’t walk very far either.
“I am choking more on food and gasping for breath which is a sign things are getting worse but death doesn’t faze me, it’s something I have come to terms with.
“I want to visit all 92 clubs and talk about it. I am 47 and if I get to 50 I will be relatively happy.”
Anyone who wants to contribute toward the fundraising can visit his Just Giving page by clicking here.