There are many charities that we support. Some are well known, and some are not that well known, either due to the lack of publicity they get, their campaigns, funding, or because they affect fewer people.
But thanks to Neil Daniher, research into Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is on the mind of every AFL football fan in Australia at this time of year through his great work with the FightMND Campaign.
MND is a progressive, terminal neurological disease which can strike anyone. It affects the nerve cells which control the body’s muscles enabling movement, speech, breathing and swallowing, and sadly, there is no known cure or any effective treatment for MND (MND is also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Lou Gehrig’s disease in other parts of the world).
From MND Australia:
- There are over 420,000 people in the world living with MND
- There are approximately 140,000 cases diagnosed worldwide each year. That is 384 new cases every day
- In Australia, two people die from MND every day, and two people are diagnosed with MND every day
- The average life expectancy is 2.5 years
There are currently more than 2,000 people in Australia with MND, including Neil Daniher. Neil is a former player for the Essendon football club, former coach of the Melbourne football club, and a FightMND Patron …..and as a passionate Melbourne Football Club supporter I have admired what Neil has achieved in the past as the coach of Melbourne from 1998 to 2007, and now with the FightMND campaign.
Neil was diagnosed with MND in 2013 and since then has been campaigning for MND medical research, not for himself as the research is expected take many years to find a cure, but for others that will be affected by this terrible disease in the future.
In 2015, Neil started the “Big Freeze” events, and I attended Big Freeze 1 before the Melbourne vs Collingwood AFL game on June 8, 2015. Unfortunately, Melbourne lost that game by 25 points…… but the Big Freeze at the start of the game was a huge success. In 2016, Big Freeze 2 was bigger and better, and Melbourne won the football game by 46 points, so the ledger is even.
If your not a local, the Big Freeze is an annual event on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in June, and involves a number of celebrities sliding into a pool of freezing ice water, always prior to the Melbourne vs Collingwood AFL football game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). It is the main fundraising event for the FightMND campaign and money is raised through sponsorship, donations and the sale of FightMND Beanies.
This year it’s on again at 2.00pm on June 12, 2017, and the theme this year is Green and Gold, Australians who have achieved success at the top level of their sport. They are:
- Lleyton Hewitt (Former No. 1 Tennis Champion)
- Steve Hooker (Olympic Gold Medallist in Pole Vault)
- Alisa Camplin (Olympic Gold Medallist in Aerial Skiing)
- Steven Bradbury (Olympic Gold Medallist in Speed Skating)
- Steve Moneghetti (Commonwealth Gold Medallist in Long-distance Running)
- Andrew Gaze (Former Australian Basketball Team and current Sydney Kings Coach)
- Sharelle McMahon (Australian Netball Team)
- Adam Gilchrist (Former Australian Cricket Team)
Good luck to the sports celebrities on Monday.
If you are not sure what I’m talking about, check out videos of the two previous Big Freeze events:
Big Freeze 1 – 2015:
WARNING – Sam Newman in a Mankini in the Big Freeze 1 video!
Big Freeze 2 – 2016:
So whether you’re a football fan or not, buy a FightMND beanie, donate now for MND research at https://fightmnd.org.au and tune into Big Freeze 3 on Monday June 12, 2017.
Let’s make Big Freeze 3 successful to assist in finding a cure for MND.
Cheers Neil .…all the best for Monday