Rhinos stars share their reasons to be thankful for Leeds Rhinos Foundation ahead of first Festive 5k

This Sunday, the entire Rhinos family will unite together for a special afternoon of Festive Fundraising all in aid of Leeds Rhinos Foundation, the charity arm of Leeds Rhinos who help to change lives through sport.

That life changing impact is seen nowhere better than in the players from our various disability rugby teams, who have been given the opportunity by the Foundation to get back onto the pitch and play the game they love whilst representing the Rhinos, which for many of the players is a lifelong dream they may never have thought to be possible.

Here are just some of the inspirational players that will be taking part in the first ever rhinos Festive 5k this weekend and why they are so thankful for the effect Leeds Rhinos Foundation has had on their lives:

Mitch Woodham- Leeds Rhinos LDSL Player:

“I love playing for Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s LDSL team and representing the club I’ve supported the club since I was little.

“It’s helped me to improve my confidence and I’ve had some brilliant experiences with the opportunities they have provided me.”

Declan Jenkinson- Leeds Rhinos LDSL Player:

“I enjoy being the co-captain for Leeds Rhinos LDSL because it helps me to make new friends, stay active, meet new people from all the different teams and enjoy some amazing experiences.

“When we made our debut at Anfield on Magic Weekend everyone felt so proud to be there and seeing all the fans cheering us on made us feel like we really belonged on that pitch.”

James King- Leeds Rhinos PDRL Player:

“I honestly never expected anything like this to happen to me. Playing in PDRL has completely changed my life and given me a new lease of life and a newfound confidence.

“I remember sitting with my friend a year before starting PDRL and telling him I’d love to play, then just like that I was suddenly playing PDRL for the Rhinos which was incredible and a dream come true.

Isaac Pickett- Leeds Rhinos PDRL Player:

“Being part of a team sport has helped me find confidence again and it’s been great getting to know all the lads.

“Representing people that have suffered from strokes is a privilege and shows disabled people that, no matter your disability, you can achieve whatever you set your mind to.

“I can honestly say PDRL has changed my life. Being involved in a team sport has allowed me to make new friends, get fit, and be involved within the game in a manner I never thought possible.

James Simpson- Leeds Rhinos Wheelchair RL player:

“I joined the Rhinos Wheelchair Rugby League team just for fun initially. I was in my 20s, I didn’t know anyone in my life who was disabled other than fellow soldiers. Suddenly, I’m surrounded with guys who’ve been disabled their whole lives.

“Fast-forward nine years and the game has evolved into something unbelievably competitive. I’m almost a professional athlete these days. I eat, sleep and live the game, and it’s given me a huge purpose in life.”

Simon Brown Leeds Rhinos PDRL Player:

“As a PDRL player I know first hand the amazing work that Leeds Rhinos Foundation does to change lives and having the opportunity to play rugby again with them has been incredible.

“In 2006 I was told there were so many things I would never be able to do again. But, with support from Leeds Rhinos Foundation, I have been able to get back into rugby league and gain a new set of mates that I’ll share a bond with for the rest of my life.”

Fans are invited to join players from the Leeds Rhinos Men’s and Women’s teams, Leeds Rhinos Netball and Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Wheelchair, Physical Disability and Learning Disability teams to take part in a 5k walk around the stadium.

A special route has been designed that takes the public all the way around the complex in a 1km walk with people encouraged to gain sponsorship from friends, family and colleagues to complete five laps.

There will also be a FREE family fun day taking place with entertainment for the whole family, including Face Painters, Santa’ Grotto, Reindeer, Christmas Food and Drink and a Junior Rugby Festival on the Headingley pitch.

Sign up for the Festive 5K

The 5km walk is open for anyone to join in, they must register in advance (it is free) and fundraise for the Foundation. Fans can sign up by CLICKING HERE

There is a special fundraising page for all donations that those taking part can share with their own family and friends at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/RhinosFestive5k.

All walkers will register in South Stand concourse on arrival between 10am-10.45am and the walk will start at the John Holmes Statue at 11am. Festive fancy dress is encouraged so dig out the Christmas jumpers and Santa hats and there will be prizes for the best dressed walkers on the day.

Car Parking is free and available in Car Park F on the day.