Driving a cure for motor neurone disease
The fight to beat motor neurone disease has attracted overwhelming support from around the country and MND sufferer Neale Daniher is leading the charge.
Freedom of independence is a feeling most of us take for granted.
But those simple tasks – getting dressed, using a knife and fork to eat, taking the dog for a walk – all begin to slip away when sufferers are dealt the terminal diagnosis of motor neurone disease.
Those affected by the neurological disease will gradually lose the ability to walk, talk, swallow and ultimately breathe.
There are more than 2000 Australians currently battling MND and AFL great Neale Daniher is one of those.
Each day in Australia two more people are diagnosed.
- Related: Neale Daniher on living with MND
Neale, 57, is approaching five years living with the disease and knows he is on borrowed time as most MND sufferers die within 27 months of being diagnosed.
While there is no cure, no effective treatment and no known cause for MND, the former Essendon star and long-time Melbourne coach continues channelling his battle into raising funds and awareness through FightMND, the foundation he co-founded.
As Australia’s leading independent MND organisation, it’s focused on funding research, clinical trials and improved care for those living with the insidious disease.
“It leaves sufferers like me eventually unable to walk, unable to swallow, unable to breath,” Neale says of MND. He calls the disease ‘The Beast’, personalising it so that he can fight it.
FightMND has raised an incredible $40 million over the past four years with events that capture the imagination of the public, inspiring thousands to get involved in raising funds to find a cure.
“The events we run like The Big Freeze and Daniher’s Drive are all about telling MND up yours – we’re going to get you and we’re going to have some fun doing it,” Neale smiles.
In The Big Freeze, celebrities take the icy plunge into a Big Freeze pool in the name of raising critical funds. In 2018, all 18 AFL coaches slid into the icy water.
There’s still time to get involved in this year’s Daniher’s Drive which sets off on 11 October. The convoy will take in parts of Central Victoria, the South East of South Australia and the magnificent Bellarine Peninsula over four days of fun and fundraising.
“The Daniher Drive is a car rally, it’s a four-day fun event – we do it every October, every year,” Neale says. “Why don’t you get on board?”
“We have a saying, without you, we won’t find a cure. And we have another saying – we never give up, we never give in and we give it all we’ve got!”