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  1. #1
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    Jarrod Cunningham loses battle against motor neurone disease battle

    I spent time in the Bay when Jarrod was playing his rugby there...so was saddened to read this today...
    Hawke's Bay rugby star Jarrod Cunningham lost a long and brave battle against motor neurone disease when he died last night.

    The 38-year-old 1990s' fullback and Hawke's Bay points record holder died hours after doing his regular fitness and exercise programme with physio Mark Foote.
    On Saturday, Cunningham defied his illness, insisting on going ahead with an invitation to officially open the refurbished Havelock North Rugby clubrooms.
    At that function the Hawke's Bay premiership-leading side paid him emotional tribute with the Ngati Kahungunu haka, Tika Tonu.
    His father, Hilton, had performed similar duties when the clubrooms originally opened.
    Also on Saturday, Cunningham attended a fundraiser for him at Cinema Gold in Havelock North.
    Long-time Havelock North and Hawke's Bay team-mate and current Havelock North coach Murdoch Paewai said today the haka was organised by Cunningham's good friend, Conrad Waitoa.
    None anticipated it would be the symbolic last time the club stalwart would see it.
    Cunningham learned of his illness while playing in England.
    "He was competitive in everything he did," Paewai said.
    "He enjoyed running the ball, he didn't like to kick, and if he ran it, he wanted us there for support. We got used to it."
    Good friend and former Havelock North team-mate Adman Harvey said today the muscle-wasting disease had become "really bad" recently, but "Jarrod went down fighting".
    "He was the most stubborn and determined person I ever knew. . . he just wanted to do those things," Mr Harvey said of the Saturday clubroom opening and fundraiser.
    Cunningham was one of few players to score more than 2000 points in first class matches.
    In New Zealand he scored 998 points in 77 games for Hawke's Bay between 1990 and 1998, and 173 for Central Vikings in the Hawke's Bay-Manawatu NPC merger.
    He was an All Black trialist, a Maori All Black, played Super 12 for the Hurricanes and the Blues, and finished his playing days in England with London Irish.
    He turned down lucrative offers aimed at luring him away from Hawke's Bay and Havelock North, his only club in New Zealand.
    In England, Cunningham played with the disease in 2001.
    He married Englishwoman Carrie Gustafson in 2003 and with her returned to New Zealand, where the Jarrod Cunningham Charitable Trust was set up to help him and others stricken by motor neurone.
    A date has not yet been set for the funeral.

  2. #2
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    Spin's Avatar
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    Motor Neurone is the disease that Stephen Hawking suffers from, lets hope the future has a cure for this kind of disease.

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