Big Freeze 8 raises record-breaking $19.8 million for FightMND

The eighth Big Freeze has broken another record in its fundraising for FightMND, generating $19.8 million for the national charity.

Announced on Global MND Awareness Day 2022, the funds, generated through the sale of Big Freeze beanies, donations and community fundraising efforts will be invested, almost immediately, in vital research to find effective treatments and a cure for Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

This year marked the first time in two years that FightMND’s Big Freeze event, including the celebrity ice slide, was held at the MCG on Queen’s Birthday Monday, in front of a crowd of nearly 80,000 people.

Local communities, schools and sporting clubs across the country have also been hosting their own DIY Big Freeze fundraising events in support of the cause.

FightMND Campaigns Director Bec Daniher was overwhelmed by the support and ongoing generosity of the Australian public and the wider FightMND Army.

“I can’t help but get emotional thinking about the overwhelming support for the Big Freeze. It’s remarkable to think how this campaign has been embraced by the entire community and is now raising millions for much-needed MND research,” Ms Daniher said.

“From the March to the ‘G, to the slide and sea of blue beanies covering every corner of the MCG, Big Freeze 8 was an unforgettable day for so many reasons and to do it all with my dad by side made it even more special.”

“Thank you to everyone who supported this campaign. We know that our job is not done until we defeat this Beast, but with every dollar raised, we’re taking another step closer to a cure for MND,” Ms Daniher added.

FightMND CEO Dr Fiona McIntosh said that FightMND was honoured to be able to make today’s Big Freeze 8 fundraising tally announcement on Global MND Awareness Day – further cementing the organisation’s position as one of the world’s largest independent funders of MND research.

“MND is relentless – it knows no borders and touches every corner of our community. We are extremely proud to announce that Australians have helped raised $19.8 million for the fight against MND on Global MND Awareness Day.”

“Research continues to be our best weapon against this Beast. By funding innovative and urgent research both at home and abroad, we’re increasing our chances of finding better treatments or a cure sooner,” Dr McIntosh said.

“Every day, we are learning more about the disease and how best to fight it. We don’t know when the big breakthrough will come, but when it does, every single person who bought a beanie or donated to FightMND can know that they played a part in making it happen.”

Since 2014, FightMND has invested $55.9 million in MND research, including 12 clinical trials and 22 drug development projects both in Australia and globally.

As part of the Big Freeze, the Victorian State Government announced a generous $250,000 donation, with the Federal Government also announcing $4 million in funding for FightMND.

AFL Chief Executive Officer Gillon McLachlan said he was thrilled to hear about the generosity of football fans in supporting FightMND and getting behind the Big Freeze.

“It was so inspiring looking out across the MCG at The Big Freeze and seeing close to 80,000 football fans all united with a sea of blue beanies. As a football community, we’re incredibly proud of the important work that FightMND continues to do and celebrate this recording-breaking milestone in donations.” Mr McLachlan said.

FightMND’s partners are integral to the success of the Big Freeze 8, and this year was no different.

Coles Express Executive General Manager Michael Courtney said Coles was delighted to have raised more than $8.5 million in six weeks at Coles supermarkets and Coles Express stores.

“Our team members, customers and Aussie pork farmers are incredibly passionate about raising funds to help find a cure and better treatments for MND and it’s now our single biggest fundraising campaign at Coles,” Mr Courtney said.

“Through the sale of beanies and Coles’ pork, we’ve raised more funds than ever before and from inner-city Melbourne to Albany in rural Western Australia, our team members have been pulling off their own ice bucket challenges in stores, car parks and support centres.”

Bunnings Managing Director Mike Schneider said that Bunnings was humbled to be part of the most successful Big Freeze to date.

“We are really humbled to have played a part in supporting FightMND’s biggest and best Big Freeze campaign yet,” Mr Schneider said.

“It has been great to see our team and customers passionately get behind fighting the Beast and proudly wearing their beanies throughout the campaign.”

“Thank you to everyone that bought a beanie from their local Bunnings and helped us contribute to this important cause, MND is a brutal disease and the incredible amount of funds and awareness raised take FightMND a step closer to finding a cure,” Mr Schneider added.

FightMND wants to extend a special thank you to all Big Freeze partners including Coles, Bunnings, the AFL, Federal Government, Victorian State Government, Sportsbet, SEN, the Collingwood Football Club, the Melbourne Football Club, the West Coast Football as well as the wider FightMND Army and volunteers for their tireless support of this year’s record-breaking campaign.

Big Freeze 8 beanies are on sale in Coles Express stores until June 29 and Bunnings stores until June 30.

Crowds return to the ‘G for Big Freeze 8

FightMND’s Big Freeze continues to raise awareness and much-needed funds to ‘beat the beast’ with the charity today raising more than $2 million in community funding before the Federal Government added $4 million to a record-breaking tally.

Contributions also came from the Victorian State Government, adding $250,000 to the cause which meant that FightMND’s ‘$2 million by Monday’ campaign exceeded its fundraising target before the end of the first quarter at today’s clash between the Collingwood Football Club and Melbourne Football Club.

It was a sea of blue Big Freeze beanies as nearly 80,000 fans rallied together, in a strong show of support for football legend Neale Daniher’s charity, FightMND.

Today also marked the first time that the Big Freeze match has been played at the MCG in two years.

Neale Daniher AO, who is battling MND, was joined by his family before the game at Federation Square to lead Melbourne FC fans in the March to the ‘G along Daniher’s Way.

Not to be outdone, Collingwood fans converged on the MCG from the Collingwood Community Festival at the AIA Centre which also played host to a Big Freeze netball game between Collingwood and the Melbourne Vixens.

Broadcast on the Seven Network nationally, the Big Freeze 8 festivities kicked off at the ground from 2 pm with a performance by Chris Cheney from The Living End before 10 courageous celebrity sliders faced Australia’s coldest ice bath.

Decked in costumes based on their favourite movie moments, this year’s star-studded cast of sliders (in sliding order) included Eddie Betts (Black Panther), Rhonda Burchmore (Poison Ivy), Andy Maher (Radar – M.A.S.H), Jakara Anthony (Katniss Everdeen), Hamish Blake (Elsa, Frozen), Terry Daniher (Crocodile Dundee), Justin Langer (Rocky Balboa), David Neitz (William Wallace, Braveheart), Bec Maddern (Trinity, Matrix) and Ash Barty (Rafiki, Lion King).

Neale and Bec Daniher were on hand to send the celebrities down the slide into the icy pool – which took 600 bags of ice to fill and was a cool -3 degrees.

Funds raised through the Big Freeze are invested in vital MND research to find effective treatments and a cure for the terminal illness which has an average life expectancy of only 27 months.

FightMND Campaigns Director Bec Daniher said that it was incredible to see the MCG turn blue once again.

“The Big Freeze is back, and we are so fortunate to have such incredible support from across the entire community – we turned the MCG blue,” she said.

“While there may be two clubs playing out there today, it’s clear that there is one team, unified and determined in the fight against this Beast of a disease.”

We are constantly humbled and overwhelmed by the generosity of the Australian public. To reach our $2 million target before quarter time is amazing and we can’t thank everyone enough.”

“To have my Dad by my side today is very special – he is honestly my hero. Marching with him, standing with him at the slide, and then being on the ground with all his grandkids running around is a memory I’ll treasure for a long time. He is so strong, positive and determined.”

Ash Barty, who went down the slide dressed as Rafiki from the Lion King, with Simba in tow, said that it’s hard not to be inspired by Neale Daniher.

“This day is for him [Neale] and this day is because of him. The way Neale can bring awareness to an incredible beast of a disease, and the way he is able to fight inspires not only Australians but people all the way around the world. He’s created an opportunity for us to do our part in helping find a solution, so this is all for Neale. There are incredible people who want to be involved because he is an exceptional man,” Barty said.

More than 100 people have now gone down the Big Freeze slide since it first began –  Neale’s Captain at the Melbourne Football Club for nearly a decade, and one of his closest friends, 300-gamer David Neitz having the honour of being the Big Freeze’s 100th slider.

“Braveheart was an absolute nod to Neale; he is the bravest man I know and what he is doing to fight this beast and inspire so many people is enormous. This is right up there as a special moment to be here at the MCG with Neale fighting for his cause,” Neitz said.

FightMND would like to thank our major partners – Coles, Bunnings and the AFL, as well as the Federal Government and Victorian State Government for their support of this year’s campaign. Just as importantly, we’d like to thank the FightMND Army, including our amazing volunteers for the ongoing support of the fight to find a cure.

Past Big Freeze sliders presented with their special ‘baggie blues’

Past Big Freeze sliders were surprised on Tuesday with a special, one-of-a-kind beanie as part of the launch of the Big Freeze Forever (BFF) club.

A homage to cricket’s famous baggie green, 19 Big Freeze slider alumni were presented with their own ‘baggy blue’ beanies, embroidered with a unique number that represents the order they went down the celebrity slide.

A gift on behalf of FightMND Patron and co-founder Neale Daniher, the beanies are both a thank you and recognition of the unique contribution that each slider has made to the fight against MND.

Kicking off the day with a presentation to Tim Watson as slider number one, FightMND Campaigns Director Bec Daniher presented ‘baggie blues’ to Garry Lyon (9), Ross Stevenson (3), Russel Howcroft (88), Brendan Fevola (60), Dave Hughes (19), Jonathan Brown (13), Bianca Chatfield, Sharelle McMahon, Matthew Richardson (12), Jack Reiwoldt (77), Gerard Whateley (15), Mark Robbinson (8), Simon Goodwin (31), Alan Richardson (39), Christian Petracca and Angus Brayshaw (81), Ben Brown (70), Billy Brownless (89) and Andrew Gaze (23).

92 sliders in total have taken the plunge at the Big Freeze clash on the Queen’s Birthday Public Holiday since 2015. The remaining sliders will receive their Big Freeze beanies over the coming days.

This year’s Big Freeze 8 will see the list of sliders grow to more than 100 people.

Click here to view the full list of Big Freeze sliders in order along with clips of highlights from past Big Freeze events.

As the first ever Big Freeze slider, Tim Watson spoke on SEN about Neale’s persuasiveness in convincing him to go down the slide in front of thousands of people at the MCG.

“Have you ever said no to Neale?”

“The Big Freeze just took off – Neale being the character he is, he’s so authentic, it just captured the imagination of the public. Everyone was into it in a big way,” Watson said.

There was a touch of controversy when Christian Petracca was presented with his baggie blue, having to share the number 81 beanie with Angus Brayshaw who tagged along as his ‘caddy’ in the COVID-impacted year in 2020.

Watch the original Petracca and Brayshaw video here.

Neale Daniher AO said he was very proud to see just how many incredible people have accepted his challenge to plunge into Australia’s coldest ice bath all in the name of a good cause.

“Whether you went down the slide first, last, decked out in costume or wearing barely anything at all (we will never forget Sam Newman’s mankini), every single person has played an important role in Big Freeze history.”

“Each slider has helped bring attention, awareness and plenty of fun to the fight against MND and I couldn’t be prouder of everything we’ve achieved together.”

“MND is a brutal disease, but we still need to find moments to laugh and cherish our time together, which is what the Big Freeze is all about.”

The first slider for this year’s Big Freeze is set to be announced on Channel 7 at halftime of the Sydney Swans vs Richmond game this Friday 27 May and Bec Daniher couldn’t be more excited.

“We’ve got an incredible list of sliders lined up for this year and I can’t wait to share them with you. I promise you won’t be disappointed,” Bec Daniher said.

Funds raised through the Big Freeze are invested in the best and brightest researchers who are dedicated to finding effective treatments and a cure for MND.

Big Freeze beanies are $25 and are now on sale at Coles, Coles Express and Bunnings stores nationwide or online at fightmnd.org.au.

Purchase your own Big Freeze beanie today

  • See the coverage from Channel 7 – click here
  • Listen to Tim Watson and Gary Lyon on SEN – click here
  • Listen to the 3AW coverage with Ross and Russ – click here
  • Listen to Fev’s surprise on Fox Melbourne –click here
Jonathan Brown. Bec Daniher visited past Big Freeze sliders with a gift from Neale of a numbered beanie.
Dave Hughes. Bec Daniher visited past Big Freeze sliders with a gift from Neale of a numbered beanie.
Brendan Fevola. Bec Daniher visited past Big Freeze sliders with a gift from Neale of a numbered beanie.
Matthew Richardson Bec Daniher visited past Big Freeze sliders with a gift from Neale of a numbered beanie.

Ross Stevenson and Russel Howcroft. The Ross and Russ 3AW breakfast show Bec Daniher visited past Big Freeze sliders with a gift from Neale of a numbered beanie.

Grab a snag and a beanie this weekend for FightMND

Bunnings, a proud supporter of FightMND since 2019, is hosting a sausage sizzle fundraiser at six selected stores across the country this Saturday 28 May, with all proceeds going towards finding a cure for Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

Between 9am and 4pm on Saturday, drop by a participating* Bunnings store to grab a snag and a Big Freeze 8 beanie to help raise awareness and support the cause, and you might even spot a familiar face behind the barbecue.

Participating Bunnings stores:

  • Bunnings Box Hill, VIC
  • Bunnings Alexandria, NSW
  • Bunnings Stafford, QLD
  • Bunnings Mile End, SA
  • Bunnings Glenorchy, TAS
  • Bunnings Midland, WA

Local Aussie icons from around the country, including the likes of Peter Hitchener and Sam Mac, will be rolling up their sleeves and serving up snags alongside FightMND volunteers at selected Bunnings stores.

Now in its eighth year, FightMND’s annual Big Freeze campaign sets out to raise awareness and vital funds to find effective treatments and a cure for MND.

As MND takes away Neale’s ability to be the voice of the campaign, this year serves as an emotive and timely call to arms for all Australians to help lead the fight against this Beast of a disease – calling for the FightMND Army to ‘Beanie On, Play On.’

Bunnings Director of Operations, Ryan Baker, said that Bunnings is proud to be a part of the FightMND Army for the fourth year running.

“Our team and customers continue to get behind the campaign year after year, and I can’t think of a better pairing coming into the colder weather than a snag and FightMND beanie that will help raise important funds in their efforts to find a cure for this heartbreaking disease,” Mr Baker said.

FightMND CEO Dr Fiona McIntosh said that FightMND is grateful for the ongoing support of the Australian public in the fight to find effective treatments and a cure for MND.

“We know it will take people to defeat this Beast and it’s only thanks to the generosity of our supporters and committed partners like Bunnings, that we are able to make a real impact for people living with MND,” Dr McIntosh said.

“Every beanie sold takes us closer to a cure and helps give hope to people with MND – hope that one day, there will be effective treatments or a cure for this Beast of a disease.”

“When you put on a Big Freeze beanie, you’re stepping up and playing on for Neale and everyone that has been diagnosed with MND,” Dr McIntosh said.

Those who want to get behind the cause but can’t make it on the day can pick up the Big Freeze 8 beanie at any Bunnings store and trade centre across Australia, from now until Tuesday 21 June 2022, or online.

The Big Freeze 8 Beanies are $25 each and all funds raised will go towards helping to raise awareness and fund research into finding effective treatments and a cure for the beast that is MND.

This year, Bunnings is excited to be committing to a 3-year partnership with FightMND to support the Big Freeze campaign all the way through to 2024. To find out more about Bunnings partnership with FightMND, visit: National Community Support – Bunnings Australia

To purchase the Big Freeze 8 Beanie, visit: FightMND Big Freeze 8 beanie

Big Freeze slider alumni

Since 2015, 92 brave individuals have accepted Neale Daniher’s challenge – to slide into Australia’s coldest ice bath, all in the name of raising awareness and funds for the fight against MND.

See the list of our slider alumni in the order they went down the Big Freeze slide and the highlights below.

2015 – Big Freeze 1

1Tim Watson
2Sam Lane
3Ross Stevenson
4Dermott Brereton
5Luke Darcy
6Sam Newman
7Brian Taylor
8Mark Robinson
9Garry Lyon
10Peter Helliar
11Mick Molloy

2016 – Big Freeze 2

12Matthew Richardson
13Jonathon Brown
14Anthony Lehman (Lehmo)
15Gerard Whateley
16Matthew Lloyd
17David Koche
18Sam Armitage
19Dave Hughes
20Eddie McGuire
21Cameron Ling
22Kevin Sheedy

2017 – Big Freeze 3

23Andrew Gaze
24Alisa Camplin
25Adam Gilchrist
26Sharelle McMahon
27Steve Bradbury
28Steve Hooker
29Steve Monaghetti
30Lleyton Hewitt

2018 – Big Freeze 4

31Simon Goodwin
32Ross Lyon
33Chris Scott
34Brad Scott
35John Longmire
36Leon Cameron
37John Worsfold
38Stuart Dew
39Alan Richardson
40Brendan Bolton
41Chris Fagan
42Nathan Buckley
43Damien Hardwick
44Luke Beveridge
45Adam Simpson
46Don Pyke
47Ken Hinkley
48Alastair Clarkson

2019 – Big Freeze 5

49Bob Murphy
50Jobe Watson
51Jimmy Bartel
52Lauren Jackson
53Liam Picken
54Chris Judd
55Nick Riewoldt
56Bianca Chatfield
57Sam Mitchell
58Brent Harvey
59Anna Meares
60Brendan Fevola
61Cyril Rioli
62Dane Swan

2020 – Big Freeze 6

63Joel Selwood
64Brad Shepard
65Michael Walters
66Bailey Smith
67Issac Smith
68Toby Greene
69Isaac Henney
70Ben Brown
71Orazio Fantasia
72Bradley Hill
73Brandon Ellis
74Kalinda Howarth
75Mitch Robinson
76Patrick Cripps
77Jack Riewoldt
78Tex Walker
79Tom Rockliff
80Steele Sidebottom
81Christian Petracca
81Angus Brayshaw

2021 – Big Freeze 7

82Shane Crawford
83Daisy Pearce
84Jeff Farmer
85Sarah Jones
86Ray Chamberlain
87Sharni Norder
88Russel Howcroft
89Billy Brownless
90Bob Murphy
91Gil McLachlan
92Craig Bellamy

The Big Freeze is back – It’s time to Beanie On, Play On

Big Freeze 8 beanies are now on sale at Coles, Coles Express and Bunnings stores nationwide and online at fightmnd.org.au.

Neale Daniher is calling on people in every corner of Australia to Beanie On, Play On at the launch of FightMND’s annual fundraiser, the Big Freeze 8, today.

FightMND Patron and co-founder Neale Daniher AO, who himself is fighting Motor Neurone Disease (MND) was joined by his family at the MCG to celebrate the reveal of this year’s popular Big Freeze beanie.

Now in its eighth year, the annual campaign sets out to raise awareness as well as vital funds to find effective treatments and a cure for MND.

As MND takes away Neale’s ability to be the voice of the campaign, this year serves as an emotive call to arms for all Australians to help lead the fight against this Beast of a disease.

“As the beast takes away my ability to be the voice of this fight, this year, more than ever, I’m calling on all Australians to come together, play on and help lead the fight against MND – with actions, not words,” Neale Daniher said.

“MND is relentless but so are we. By proudly wearing a Big Freeze Beanie, you’re joining an unstoppable army, united in their determination to fight back and marching as one towards a cure.

Together I know we can defeat this Beast. It’s time to Beanie On, Play On.”

All funds raised through the sale of Big Freeze 8 beanies as well as 10 cents from every Coles Brand Australian Pork product and 20 cents from every Coles Free Range Pork product sold until 21 June will be invested in cutting-edge research projects focused on driving discoveries towards a cure as well as care for those living with MND.

The six-week campaign will culminate with a huge celebration on the Queen’s Birthday public holiday (13 June) at the annual Big Freeze match between the Collingwood Football Club and Melbourne Football Club at the MCG.

The celebration will include the much-loved celebrity slide, see the return of the March to the G’ for the first time since 2019 and global musical act Vance Joy.

FightMND CEO Dr. Fiona McIntosh recognised the important role of the Australian public in their ongoing enthusiasm for the Big Freeze and the famous blue beanies.

“We know it will take people to defeat this Beast and it’s only thanks to the generosity of our supporters and committed partners in Coles and Bunnings, that we are able to make a real impact for people living with MND,” Dr McIntosh said.

“Every beanie sold takes us closer to a cure and helps give hope to people with MND – hope that one day, there will be effective treatments or a cure for this devastating disease.”

When you put on a Big Freeze beanie, you’re stepping up and playing on for Neale and everyone that has been diagnosed with this horrible disease. You’re showing people living with MND that you are with them and that you care.”

FightMND Campaigns Director, Bec Daniher also flagged her excitement at being able to celebrate the Big Freeze in front of tens of thousands of passionate AFL fans for the first time in three years.

“While MND is a brutal disease, we still need to find time for moments to laugh and cherish our time together, which is what the Big Freeze is all about,” Ms Daniher said.

“We might be opposing teams on the field, but when it comes to the fight against the Beast, the Big Freeze shows that we’re all on the same team, united in our goal – a world without MND.”

AFL Chief Executive Officer Gillon McLachlan said he is looking forward to seeing football fans at a packed MCG on the Queen’s Birthday public holiday.

“It’s always so inspiring to look out across the MCG to a sea of the Big Freeze beanies being worn by football fans during the much-anticipated Melbourne and Collingwood clash.

The important work that FightMND does with the help of the broader football community and fans continues to grow year on year and as an organisation we couldn’t be prouder to put our beanies on and play on,” Mr McLachlan said.

The famous, blue, Big Freeze beanies cost $25 and are available for purchase nationally at your local Coles, Coles Express, Bunnings and via fightmnd.org.au.

Kids’ beanies are also available exclusively online via the FightMND website.

FightMND’s partners are integral to the success of the Big Freeze campaign and help ensure that it’s easy to join the fight against the Beast.

Coles Chief Operations Officer Matt Swindells said Coles was delighted to be selling beanies in its Coles Supermarkets and Coles Express stores again this year.

“Coles has been a proud partner of FightMND for the past five years and we’re delighted to once again support this important cause with the help of our customers, pork farmers and team members,” he said.

“With an average of two Australians diagnosed with MND every day, it’s a cause that has been very close to many of our customers and team members. That’s why we’re incredibly proud to be a part of the FightMND Army and to help make a genuine difference to the people and families impacted by this horrible disease.”

Bunnings Director of Operations, Ryan Baker said that Bunnings was excited to be supporting the Big Freeze campaign for the fourth year running.

“Our team and customers continue to get behind the campaign year after year, proudly donning their beanies to support the fight against the Beast.

We’re humbled to be a part of the FightMND Army and look forward to coming together for Big Freeze 8 to ‘Beanie On, Play On’ and help raise vital funds and awareness for MND,” Mr Baker said.

Purchase your Big Freeze beanie or make a donation and help find a cure for MND.

Tags: Big Freeze, Big Freeze 8, Big Freeze 8 beanie, Big Freeze beanie, FightMND

Funded research projects

Thanks to the ongoing support of the Australian public and the FightMND Army,  FightMND has invested more than $55.9 million into MND research since 2014.

Together we have made real progress towards effective treatments and a cure since the Army answered the call seven years ago.

People living with MND now have more opportunity to participate in research or clinical trials throughout Australia. It is proof of the accelerating progress we0 are making to end MND.

From clinical trials to drug development projects, it is research like this that will help us find more effective treatments and ultimately a cure.

Below you will find a list of the clinical trials, drug development projects and impact grants we’ve invested in from 2016 – 2021

Clinical trials

Clinical trials test and evaluate promising new treatments to find better ways to prevent, detect or treat MND.

2021

PHASE 1B – EPHRIN RECEPTOR A4 FC (new drug) (Prof Perry Bartlett, AO)

2020

2016-19

Drug Development Projects

Drug Development projects are focused on advancing promising new drugs or therapies through the final stages of testing in preparation for their assessment in clinical trials with MND patients.

2021

2020

2016-19

IMPACT grants

To accelerate the development of effective therapies for MND, FightMND IMProving and ACcelerating Translation (IMPACT) grants support projects focused on overcoming one or more key barriers preventing the advancement of potential treatments through to clinical trial.

2021

2020

2016-19

Angie Cunningham PhD Scholarship and Grant-in-Aid

Honouring the life of Angie Cunningham, FightMND’s Angie Cunningham PhD Scholarship aims to support future leaders in MND research.

FightMND supports biomedical research in the field of Motor Neurone Disease (MND), encompassing all relevant research disciplines. The objectives of the Angie Cunningham Scholarship Scholarship and Project Grant-in-Aid Award are to:

  • Support research aimed at understanding the causes of sporadic MND,
    elucidating disease mechanisms and facilitating the translation of therapeutic strategies from the laboratory to the clinic;
  • Encourage new interest within the field of MND research from exceptional new postgraduates;
  • Help develop PhD graduates who demonstrate academic leadership,
    independence, creativity and innovation in their work and foster a passion for future MND research;
  • Honour the memory and legacy of Angie Cunningham

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?height=314&href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FFightMND%2Fvideos%2F2115138615291252%2F&show_text=false&width=560&t=0

Angie Cunningham Scholarship recipients:

Read more

Drug Screening Platform

In 2017, with support from the Andrews Labor Government, FightMND partnered with the Balcon Group Pty Ltd to establish the FightMND Drug Screening Program. The four-year, $5M program aims to establish a high-throughput drug screening platform to screen approved and experimental treatments on motor neurons grown from skin cells from Australians living with MND.

The FightMND Drug Screening Program has drawn together an expert team of stem cell scientists and MND clinicians and made significant progress over the last four years. The major research outcomes for the study include:

  • the generation of the world’s second-largest MND iPSC bank available for drug screening and a vital tool for MND researchers globally
  • the development of a robust motor neuron generation protocol that will be published and shared within the research community
  • an MND specific drug screening platform and pipeline for screening approved and novel promising therapeutics
  • the foundation for comprehensive single-centre multidimensional characterisation.

Research update – April 2022

We’re four months into 2022, so here’s a quick roundup of what’s been happening in the world of MND research.

Record number of FightMND research grant applications 

Applications for the 2022 FightMND research grant round closed on Monday 4 April.

FightMND received a record number of applications from MND researchers across Australia and around the world.

Over the next few weeks, MND experts from all over the world will be reviewing the applications, helping ensure only the most promising research gets funded.

We thank the researchers who have applied for their time and effort in preparing their applications and wish them good luck.

The outcomes of the 2022 grant round will be shared later in the year.

Professor Matthew Kiernan receives Sheila Essey Award

Professor Matthew Kiernan from the University of Sydney has received significant funding from FightMND, leading several clinical trials for Australians with MND.

In recognition of his amazing research achievements and contribution in the MND research sector, he has been awarded the highly prestigious Sheila Essey award by the American Academy of Neurology.

As the first Australian neurologist to receive this honour, this award reflects the tireless work Prof Kiernan has committed to helping his patients with MND/ALS.  

Read more

Lighthouse II (Phase 3) Clinical Trial begins recruitment

In an exciting step forward, the Lighthouse II (Phase 3) trial began recruiting in their first round of drug trials this year.

With the first patient being enrolled in the trial for MND earlier this year, participants will be part of an international effort, testing the efficacy of a drug called triumeq.

Aiming to enrol 390 participants from across Australia, Europe, and the UK, FightMND are proud to support the Australian component for up to 90 participants. FightMND also supported the successful Lighthouse I (Phase 2) trial in 2016, which has paved the way for this Lighthouse II study.  

Read more 

Best and brightest MND minds come together for MND Symposium in Brisbane

For the first time in two years, some of our best and brightest minds in the Australian MND research sector will be coming together to share updates, findings, and advancements in MND research.

Co-funded with MND Research Australia, the first-ever Australian and New Zealand MND Research Symposium is set to be held in Brisbane from 28 – 30 April.

With registrations now open, the three-day event will provide a unique opportunity for MND researchers and those with a lived experience of MND to collaborate, connect and learn.

Featuring over 55 presentations, 50 posters, a symposium dinner, platform and poster prizes and Q&As with Australia’s leading MND researchers, it is an event not to be missed! 

Read more 

Key risk-factor gene for MND identified 

An important link between a key risk-factor gene (UNC13A) for MND/ALS and a significant feature of the disease has been identified.

Published in the journal Nature, the study indicates that the loss of a protein called TDP-43 in the part of a motor neuron that stores its genetic information, can cause changes in the UNC13A gene, and increase the risk of MND/ALS.

These new findings are especially exciting as they have improved the understanding of MND and provide further support for the development of TDP-43-targeted therapies.  

Read more

Ty set to raise funds for FightMND with a new Beanie Boo in 2022

FightMND is very excited to announce a new partnership with Ty through the upcoming release of a Ty Beanie Boo – Tony the Penguin.

Now on sale globally, 100 percent of the profits from original sales of the popular and collectible Ty Beanie Boo will go towards FightMND in the fight against Motor Neurone Disease (MND) (also known as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)) worldwide.

The special FightMND Tony the Penguin Beanie Boo is now available in Coles, ToyWorld, NewsXpress and more great retailers.

Money raised through the global sale of Tony the Penguin will help fund vital and urgent MND/ALS research to find effective treatments and ultimately a cure for the disease.

The average life expectancy of a person diagnosed with MND/ALS is only 27 months. There is currently no effective treatment or cure.

Ty Inc is the largest manufacturer of plush in the world, and its Chairman, CEO and founder Ty Warner, is honoured to be joining the fight.

“Hopefully this special Beanie Boo, named after my great friend and Australian distributor Tony, will bring awareness around the world to this horrible disease, and bring us closer to beating the beast that is MND/ALS”.

A philanthropist, Mr Warner has donated more than $300 million to a variety of charities worldwide including the American Red Cross, UNICEF, United Way Worldwide, Ronald McDonald House, WIRES, and many more.

FightMND CEO Fiona McIntosh thanked Ty for joining the global fight against MND and helping raise awareness of the disease which has no effective treatment or cure.

“Anyone with children knows how popular Beanie Boos are, which is why we are very excited to partner with Ty and have our own special FightMND Tony the Penguin join the Beanie Boo family,” Dr McIntosh said.

“The money raised through this new partnership will go towards cutting-edge research to teach us even more about the disease and how to fight it.”

“Every dollar raised for the fight against MND takes us another step closer to finding effective treatments and a cure,” Dr McIntosh added.

Tony the Penguin is the newest fundraising item for FightMND, which will be offered in addition to the famous blue Big Freeze Beanies, which go on sale in Australia at Coles, Bunnings and online in May 2022.

FightMND invests a further $10.7M in the fight against MND

The fight against Motor Neurone Disease (MND) has received a multi-million-dollar boost with FightMND announcing a further $10.7 million investment into research and care equipment for people living with MND.

This major funding commitment takes the total amount the charity has invested into research and care to more than $63 million since it began in 2014.

Of the total $10.7 million investment in 2021, $8.4 million will go towards 16 MND research projects including one clinical trial, five drug development projects and ten IMPACT projects to help accelerate the development of promising research and effective therapies for MND.

Announced at the Big Freeze 7 in Melbourne this year, the Federal Government also pledged an additional $2 million towards an exciting new MND research initiative, which will be finalised in the coming months.

For the full project summaries, click here.

As part of this year’s research grant round, FightMND received 47 funding applications, worldwide.

The remaining $2.3 million will go to state-based MND organisations to enable the purchase of essential care equipment such as mobility, communication and respiratory support devices to help improve the lives of those fighting the disease.

More than 2,000 Australians are currently living with MND. With an average life expectancy of 27 months from diagnosis, MND gradually takes away a person’s ability to move, speak, eat, swallow and breathe. There is currently no effective treatment or cure.

This year’s funding comes largely from community donations and money raised through beanie sales from a record-breaking Big Freeze 7.

FightMND CEO Dr. Fiona McIntosh thanked FightMND’s Army of supporters who have continued to support the organisation despite another challenging year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This investment would not be possible without the support of our FightMND Army. To our generous donors, major partners, volunteers, supporters and the Federal and Victorian State Governments – thank you for taking up the fight with us.”

“Every Big Freeze beanie sold, donation made and time volunteered means that we can continue to land solid blows against the Beast, year after year.

“For those currently fighting the disease, your courage never fails to inspire us. You are the reason why we do what we do,” Dr McIntosh said.

Research Director Dr. Bec Sheean said that Australia’s MND research capacity and capability continues to grow thanks to the generosity and ongoing support of the Australian public.

“Research takes time but there is growing optimism in the research community because we are starting to see real momentum – every day we are learning more about how to fight the disease,” Dr. Sheean said.

“With ongoing support and donations, we are able to make targeted investments in cutting-edge projects focussed on fast-tracking new treatments.”

“People living with MND in Australia now have more opportunities to participate in research or clinical trials and more access to care equipment to improve their quality of life.”

FightMND would like to acknowledge the generous contribution of the Federal Government and Victorian State Government as well as major partners (Bunnings, Coles, Channel 7, Herald Sun, the AFL and Chemist Warehouse), donors, community fundraisers, volunteers and supporters.

FightMND are more determined than ever to fight back against the Beast, offer hope and end the suffering of those living with MND.

“The fight is not over and the battle will continue until a cure is found. This investment takes us another step closer,” Dr McIntosh added.

To support the work of FightMND, please visit fightmnd.org.au/donate

Read the article as it appeared in the Herald Sun – ‘Generous Victorians behind FightMND milestone‘.

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