Stephen Darby gives an emotional update on what it is like living with Motor Neurone Disease, which he was diagnosed with in 2018.
The now retired professional footballer who played as a right-back, had represented England at under-19 level, and began his career playing on the winning team of the Liverpool FA Youth Cup in 2006 and played competitively for the Reds from 2008 to 2012.
Darby then signed for Bradford, with the team reaching the 2013 League Cup Final, and made over 200 appearances for the club and captaining the side for two seasons.
Although he afterwards signed a 2-year contract with Bolton Wanderers in 2017, Darby retired from his career just over a year later at the age of 29 after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
Darby, married to Steph Houghton, captain of Man City Women and former captain of England women’s national team since 2018, set up the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation to fund support for families affected by motor neurone disease, and research a cure.
5 years ago today on Wednesday 12th September 2018 I was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
— Darby Rimmer MND Foundation (@DarbyRimmerMND) September 12, 2023
Stephen Darby said in an update with this week being 5 years on since his diagnosis: “On Wednesday 12th September 2018, 5 years ago today, I was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. To put this into perspective, 80%-90% of people who are diagnosed with MND die within 5 years. A third of people who are diagnosed die within a year, and half of people diagnosed die within two years. I count myself one of the lucky ones.
“Daily tasks are tougher, some tasks require help and some require more effort but I feel that effort is a privilege. It’s a privilege because although it’s harder it means I’m still able to do it.
“I have met so many incredible people in the last 5 years. The MND community is a special group. It’s not a group any of us want to be part of but the strength and fight that people and families show on a daily basis is inspiring. Myself and the foundation will always do everything we can to help make a positive impact on MND.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has been part of the journey over the last 5 years. Your support, kindness and generosity has helped us make a positive impact on those who are battling MND and that support will continue to help us make a difference.
“The fight goes on.
In 2019, Stephen Darby reflected on his own diagnosis, the launch of the DarbyRimmer MND Foundation with Liverpool fan Chris Rimmer, and outlines his hopes and aims for the future of the foundation.
After playing professional football since the age of 17, on the 12th September 2018, I was forced to retire at the age of 29 after being given the diagnosis of motor neurone disease (MND). At the time of my diagnosis, I was still playing football at Bolton Wanderers and training every day. I had played professional football since the age of 17 having played for Liverpool, Swindon Town, Notts County, Rochdale, Bradford City and Bolton Wanderers.
My first sign of symptoms was a weakness in my hand and twitching in my arm. For 12 months I was being treated for something different at one point and things were looking quite promising. However, after 18 months of testing I was finally given the devastating news that I had MND. Testing consisted of MRI scans, EMG tests and nerve conduction study tests. Testing also consisted of having IV infusions both lasting 5 days each time and a lumbar puncture. Over the course of the last 2 and a half years, symptoms have been progressing slowly. I have weakness in both hands and twitching in my arms, legs, chest and tongue. Starting the foundation was a way of turning something so devastating into something positive. To have a positive impact on MND and to help those individuals and families living through it to support them.
Fans sent supportive messages as Stephen Darby gives an emotional update on living with Motor Neurone Disease…
@titch1381: We love you Darbs ❤️🧡
@Bantam_nuggsy: All with you Darbs ⚽️
@johnboydev: Keep fighting Stephen Darby baby 🎶🎶🎶🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
@sharront1979: Keep fighting Darbs us Swindon fans will never forget that winning penalty that took us to Wembley X
@nastierflange: keep fighting it man! youre bossing it!
@jack_thompson11: YNWA ❤️
@Chicken_Donner: A brave man on and off the field. An inspiration to many.
@AFCLiverpoolU21: Keep fighting matey 🧡💙
@NorfernMonkey: Bradford legend 👏🏻
@DeeGasMan1: #ynwa mate. Keep fighting
@jfsmith98: Legend Darbs ❤️