sport news Ed Slater speaks out on his motor neurone disease battle as he completes brutal ... trends now

sport news Ed Slater speaks out on his motor neurone disease battle as he completes brutal ... trends now
sport news Ed Slater speaks out on his motor neurone disease battle as he completes brutal ... trends now

sport news Ed Slater speaks out on his motor neurone disease battle as he completes brutal ... trends now

To be at Kingsholm on Wednesday night was to be reminded that, for all its current flaws, rugby still has a significant capacity for good.

Ed Slater, soaked in sweat and clutching a well-deserved lager, acknowledged as much.

As the former Gloucester lock entered the stadium he used to call home to bring to an end the most gruelling of bike rides, it was hard not to feel emotional.

Ed Slater has ridden 350 miles this week in a charity bike ride for motor neurone disease

Ed Slater has ridden 350 miles this week in a charity bike ride for motor neurone disease

Slater was visibly full of emotion this evening when he crossed the finishing line in Gloucester

Slater was visibly full of emotion this evening when he crossed the finishing line in Gloucester

Hundreds of Gloucester fans turned up to cheer Slater and his fellow cyclists.

Last month, Slater received the life-changing news he had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND). It shocked the rugby world. Slater is just 34. His family are devastated.

But, somehow able to summon the most remarkable strength in the face of adversity, Slater is not giving up. 

Alongside players and staff of Gloucester, he has cycled 350 miles this week to raise not only vital awareness of MND, but more than £300,000 in funds.

‘I’m just a normal bloke from Milton Keynes who happened to play a bit of rugby and the way you have supported me since my diagnosis means so much,’ Slater told Gloucester’s fans.

‘The welcome here is humbling and mind blowing. After receiving the diagnosis, I was in an extraordinarily dark place and Gloucester have lifted me out of that. I have got to thank the club.

Players and staff at Gloucester have joined Slater, who is determined not to give up his fight

Players and staff at Gloucester have joined Slater, who is determined not to give up his fight

Slater was exhausted but overjoyed, raising over £300,000 for charity with his bike ride

Slater was exhausted but overjoyed, raising over £300,000 for charity with his bike ride

‘It’s not been easy for them with this life-changing news, but they’ve been great. It’s a special, special place.’

Slater, pint in hand, received a raucous welcome from Gloucester’s supporters as he crossed the finishing line. ‘Gloucester, Gloucester,’ sang the Cherry and White faithful.

‘I can’t believe the reaction and that people to have turned out like they have. The noise when we arrived was amazing,’ said Slater.

‘I had to keep the tears in to be honest with you. I did have a cry when we came into Gloucester because a lot has changed for me since the diagnosis. I’ve had to give up rugby.

‘I’ve had to give up a lot of things. A lot of this challenge was about proving I could still do something which was very difficult. It nearly broke me, but I got through it.

The group received a warm welcome from supporters and family as they arrived in Gloucester

The group received a warm welcome from supporters and family as they arrived in Gloucester

The former Gloucester lock enjoyed a well-earned pint when he had completed the ride

The former Gloucester lock enjoyed a well-earned pint when he had completed the ride

Slater was greeted by his family at the finishing line, where he was congratulated on his ride

Slater was greeted by his family at the finishing line, where he was congratulated on his ride

‘I’ve just decided it (the MND diagnosis) is out of my control. There is not a lot I can do about it. It is not going to go away and it is certainly not going to do that if I sit at home and wallow in self-pity. 

'I just need to get on with doing stuff. That’s my attitude. I am not going to help anyone by stewing at home. My kids and my wife don’t need it and I don’t need it. I am determined to carry on and try to keep that attitude.’

As the new rugby season looms into view, the sport is battling a number of significant issues.

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