September 13 2005
Jarrod Cunningham was a player for London Irish, who at the end of the 2002 Zurich Premiership season was released as a player to take up a contract at Wasps. However, during the first two days of pre-season training, he noticed that his field vision, balance and co-ordination seemed to be out of kilter.
Initially this was put down to first day nerves, but as the symptoms persisted, there was clearly something wrong. On consulting a specialist to correct what was originally thought to be a simple problem with his thumb, it was finally diagnosed - after many long and stressful tests - as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a form of Motor Neurone Disease.
From what appeared to be a sentence of slow wasting of the body, Jarrod was determined to do something about it. "A coach once said to me 'The power of the mind is a wonderful thing' - it is incredible what you can achieve when you believe in yourself. With Rugby, I experienced what the team and/or I could achieve through positive thought and attitude. I now hope to help others realise their potential through positive thought and attitude in dealing with ALS".
The result of this is the Jarrod Cunningham SALSA Foundation, designed to raise awareness for ALS sufferers about what can be done to combat this fearful disease.
For futher details, information and ways to support the foundation, please visit www.salsassociates.com