Our friend, and legendary Scrum Half, of Macclesfield Rugby Club, Richard Usher, was recently diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND). Rick was for many years a GP in Macclesfield as well as having various medical roles with England Rugby and other sporting bodies. In recent years he has been the Team Doctor for Team Sky and currently for Ineos Grenadiers. Rick was an outstanding scrum-half for Macclesfield and scored one of the most important tries ever for the Club, to beat Sale in the final of the Cheshire Cup – the first time Sale had ever been beaten in the Cup.
The disease, whilst being hereditary, is 8 times more likely with people that have played impact sports, and as a consequence, is well known within the rugby fraternity. Its awareness is championed by ex-Scottish Rugby International Doddie Weir (My Name’5 Doddie Foundation). Doddie is now some years down the line as an MND sufferer and shares his journey with the fellow sufferer and ex Rugby League player Rob Burrow. The Club is putting its full support to also champion this cause.
Whilst there is currently no cure for the condition our fund-raising challenge is to support the work led by Bristol-based neurosurgeon Professor Steven Gill, who is working to combine three elements: Gene Therapy with Viral Vectors delivered via Convection Enhanced Delivery (CED). Delivery of genes to affected neurons to correct or repair defects has been a major challenge, but thanks to My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, and another fundraising, the research funds are well on their way!
We want to help them reach their first £150,000 goal. Many of Rick’s old teammates are joining in the challenge along with many of the Roustabouts and Andy Appleyard.
Our physical challenge is to nudge you into supporting Rick and the MND Funding Neuro campaign or joining in; it’s a slog up Cheshire’s 3 highest Peaks: Shuttlingsloe, Shining Tor and Tegg’s Nose. The 14-mile round walk will require 2,500 feet of climbing and a lot of puff-and-pain for our old and battered rugby bodies. We will be seen off and applauded back by legend Fran Cotton at the Leathers Smithy, and Rick if he is not racing with the Grenadiers. If you would like to join in drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org or just donate online https://www.justgiving.com/team/teamushey
Many thanks, Wilkey and Clive Kirkham