FORMER Wanderers defender Stephen Darby has sent out an inspirational message five years after he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.

Darby was part of Phil Parkinson’s Championship squad in autumn 2018 when he announced his diagnosis and ended his playing career at the age of 29.

He went on to create the Darby Rimmer Foundation with friend and ex-armed forces officer, Chris Rimmer, which has raised more than £1.2miilion to date, raised awareness of MND, helped families with grants and funded research projects.

Darby, who also played for Liverpool, Swindon Town, Notts County, Rochdale and Bradford City, vowed to continue campaigning – championing the social media hashtag #attackMND – in a message on the foundation’s website.

He said: “On Wednesday, September 12, 2018, five 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 five 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 five 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 five 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.”