Darby thanks supporters for fundraising event after retiring with MND

‘The support has been overwhelming’: Stephen Darby thanks Bradford fans for fundraising evening after ex-Liverpool youngster was forced to retire with motor neurone disease

  • Stephen Darby retired from football at the age of just 29 back in September
  • His former club Bradford City held a fundraising event in his honour this week
  • Darby was unable to attend but he sent his supporters a heartfelt message 
  • ‘From the bottom of my heart I can’t thank you enough,’ the 30-year-old said

Former Liverpool youngster Stephen Darby has sent a heartfelt message to supporters of Bradford City after they held a fundraising night in his honour to help raise funds and awareness of motor neurone disease.

The 30-year-old defender was forced to retire from football back in September after being diagnosed with the incurable condition that affects the brain and nerves.

At the time, the world of football rallied behind Darby, who is married to England women’s star Steph Houghton.

Stephen Darby has thanked Bradford fans after they held a fundraising event in his honour

Stephen Darby has thanked Bradford fans after they held a fundraising event in his honour

The former defender was forced to retire after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease

The former defender was forced to retire after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease

Ex-Liverpool player is married to England and Manchester City women's star Steph Houghton

Ex-Liverpool player is married to England and Manchester City women’s star Steph Houghton

Darby was unable to attend the event but he made sure the supporters knew how much he appreciated their support with a video message posted on Bradford City’s Twitter page on Wednesday.

DARBY’S CAREER CV 

2008-12 – Liverpool

2010 – Swindon (loan)

2010-11 – Notts Country (loan)

2011-12 – Rochdale (loan)

2012-17 – Bradford 

2017-18 – Bolton 

Wearing a Bradford claret and amber scarf, Darby said: ‘Motor neurone disease is something that’s really rare, and for us to find a better treatment and a cure it’s crucial that we raise awareness and funds so what you’re all doing tonight is absolutely fantastic and it’s really special and from the bottom of my heart I can’t thank you enough. 

‘I hope you all know how much Bradford City as a club and the Bradford fans and the Bradford people mean to me.’

He added: ‘Obviously the last couple of months have been quite difficult and tough for me, my wife and the family. 

‘But I’d just like you all to know I feel good about myself, I feel positive, strong and we’ll keep looking forward and do everything we can to raise awareness and raise funds to beat this disease.’ 

Darby, who began his career at his hometown club Liverpool and later made more than 200 appearances for Bradford City, received the diagnosis from a specialist.

Darby began his career at Liverpool before spells at a number of clubs including Bradford

Darby began his career at Liverpool before spells at a number of clubs including Bradford

'From the bottom of my heart I really can't thank you all enough for the love,' he told fans

‘From the bottom of my heart I really can’t thank you all enough for the love,’ he told fans

WHAT IS MND? 

Motor neurone disease (MND) is a uncommon condition that affects the brain and nerves. It causes weakness that gets worse over time.

It’s always fatal and can significantly shorten life expectancy, but some people live with it for many years. There’s no cure, but there are treatments to help reduce the impact it has on your daily life.

Symptoms

Symptoms of motor neurone disease come on gradually and may not be obvious at first.

Early symptoms can include:

Who gets it and why?

Motor neurone disease is an uncommon condition that mainly affects people in their 60s and 70s, but it can affect adults of all ages.

It’s caused by a problem with cells in the brain and nerves called motor neurones. These cells gradually stop working over time. It’s not known why this happens.

Source: NHS

 

He made one Premier League appearance and three in the Champions League before joining Bolton in summer 2017.

Darby’s former team Liverpool were among many teams, players and fans to send their best wishes to him when he retired.

And on Wednesday he revealed plans to hold a charity match at Braford’s Valley Parade in the new year as he looks to use his diagnosis to raise more awareness about the deadly disease.

The former defender also thanked the footballing world for their support during his difficult few months and insisted, despite his condition that he ‘feels good… positive (and) strong’.

‘It’d be nice to get back to Valley Parade at some point to see you all and to see so many familiar faces,’ he said.

‘From the bottom of my heart I really can’t thank you all enough for the love and support which you’ve shown me over the last couple of months. The support I’ve had, the messages, they’ve really touched me and it’s really been overwhelming. 

‘I’d just like you all to know, there’s always a special place in my heart for Bradford City and the Bradford people and I hope you all know that. So have a fantastic night, enjoy yourselves, hopefully see you all soon. Take care!’

? | More than 500 people attended last night's Stephen Darby Appreciation Evening – and there was a special message from the man himself…

? | Full details from the event, designed to raise funds for @mndassoc, to follow!#BCAFC pic.twitter.com/YsT8nncl0O

DARBY’S MESSAGE TO FANS 

Hello everyone, hope everyone’s well and having a good night and not too many beers. I hope you all like my scarf. I’m sorry I can’t be with you all tonight, unfortunately when I was made aware of the evening, I’d already made some plans and commitments today and tomorrow so I apologise for not being there. But I’m talking to the club at the moment, so hopefully in the near future I’ll be able to get to a game and hopefully in the new year we can arrange something – whether that’s a match or something along those lines as it’d be nice to get back to Valley Parade at some point to see you all and to see so many familiar faces. I’d like to thank you all for putting my name towards the evening, and for also raising funds and raising awareness of motor neurone disease.

Motor neurone disease is something that’s really rare, and for us to find a better treatment and a cure it’s crucial that we raise awareness and funds so what you’re all doing tonight is absolutely fantastic and it’s really special and from the bottom of my heart I can’t thank you enough. I hope you all know how much Bradford City as a club and the Bradford fans and the Bradford people mean to me. I was fortunate enough to play for the club for five years and during that time we made some special memories and some fantastic games and I was lucky enough to meet some really special people along the way. I know they were certainly the best moments and memories of my career and it was an absolute pleasure to share them with you.

Obviously the last couple of months have been quite difficult and tough for me, my wife and the family. But I’d just like you all to know I feel good about myself, I feel positive, strong and we’ll keep looking forward and do everything we can to raise awareness and raise funds to beat this disease.

In terms of tonight, I hope you all have a fantastic night, I hope you enjoy yourselves and as I mentioned before, hopefully in the near future, it’ll be great to see you all and also in the new year we can arrange something with the club as it’d be really nice to see you all again. Last but not least, from the bottom of my heart I really can’t thank you all enough for the love and support which you’ve shown me over the last couple of months. The support I’ve had, the messages, they’ve really touched me and it’s really been overwhelming. I’d just like you all to know, there’s always a special place in my heart for Bradford City and the Bradford people and I hope you all know that. So have a fantastic night, enjoy yourselves, hopefully see you all soon. Take care! 

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