Category: Big Freeze

Daniher’s Drive returns to the road this October

After two years of delays, a convoy of 80 cars carrying more than 300 participants will journey through regional Victoria raising awareness and funds for FightMND as part of this year’s Daniher’s Drive.

Set to take place from Thursday 13 October to Sunday 16 October 2022, the seventh Daniher’s Drive will travel 895 kilometres through the towns of Myrtleford and Bright, over the Great Dividing Range to Lakes Entrance and Warragul.

It will mark the first time in two years that the popular Drive event has returned to the road, with the opportunity to visit regional communities and support their recovery from the 2020 bushfires and the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns.

In addition to nightly events and community activities along the route, the Drive also offers a special chance to connect with regional families who have been touched by Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

From what started as a quest to raise awareness of MND in regional Victoria has since grown into a marquee regional fundraiser drawing participants from all over Australia.

A proud cornerstone of Daniher’s Drive is fundraising, with each team raising a minimum of $5000 to take part. However, many of the Drive teams, some returning for their fifth or sixth Drive, consistently exceed that target. This year, the event hopes to raise more than $1,000,000 for the fight against MND.

For the first time, Jayco, Australia’s most popular brand of RVs, has stepped up to help Drive participants raise funds by generously donating a Jayco Starcraft Bushpack Caravan 2022 valued at $61,990 (RRP) as the major prize for the Daniher’s Drive raffle.

With tickets costing $50 each, the Daniher’s Drive raffle will run from 13 July 2022 to 14 October 2022 and is open to residents in Victoria, New South Wales, Northern Territory and Tasmania.

Tickets for the Daniher’s Drive raffle are available online here. 

All funds raised through the raffle will not only support Daniher’s Drive but help fund urgent MND research and care for those living with MND.

FightMND Campaigns Director Bec Daniher said she was excited to see the Drive back on the road after two years of COVID-related setbacks.

“I can’t wait to take the fight against MND on the road again to visit these resilient regional towns who have been impacted so much over the past two years.” Bec Daniher said.

“The people who take part in Daniher’s Drive are like one big family – this event has been more than two years in the making so I have no doubt it’s going to be a reunion and celebration to remember,” she said.

“But before we get to the start line, there’s plenty of work to be done which is why it’s great to have the support of Gerry Ryan and Jayco as our Drive teams work hard to raise much-needed funds to help find a cure for this Beast of a disease.”

Jayco National Sales Manager, Scott Jones said that for Jayco, it’s really important that they give back to the community.

“We’re honoured to be part of FightMND Daniher’s Drive, which will raise much-needed funds to help cure Motor Neurone Disease, as well as supporting regional communities that have been devastated by floods and fires over the last year,” Mr Jones said.

Daniher’s Drive is also supported by Chemist Warehouse, the Victorian State Government, PSC Insurance, Bayside Coaches and CMV Trucks & Buses.

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.

Australia to light up blue for the Big Freeze 8

Big Freeze 8 illuminations are set to light up Australia this long weekend, beginning on Friday (10 June), as we lead into the Big Freeze event on Queens Birthday (13 June). Once again, prominent landmarks and buildings across the country will be taking part by illuminating in the iconic cornflower blue.

Illuminations play an important part in the fight against MND and continue to be an incredible show of solidarity and support for all those who have been diagnosed, or are currently fighting their battle against the Beast, and in memory of those who have died.

The Blue Cornflower is the international symbol of hope and courage for MND. It is a flower that can withstand all elements and it’s blue colour never fades. The blue symbolizes and reflects the tremendous strength and resilience of those people who are living with MND.

Every day, two people will die from MND and two more will be diagnosed. The average life expectancy of a person living with MND is 27 months.

It is the courage of those currently fighting and those who have died from the disease that never fails to inspire us. They are the reason why we do what we do.

To those we have lost, and to those in the fight, we Play On for you.

See the full list of illumination locations across Australia below:

Victoria

  • Flinders Street Station
  • Melbourne Town Hall
  • AAMI Park
  • MCG
  • Bolte Bridge, Habitat Filter, Sound Tube
  • Royal Exhibition Building
  • Federation Square
  • Exhibition Centre

 

Western Australia

  • Bell Tower
  • Council House
  • Elizabeth Quay Pedestrian Bridge
  • Matagarup Bridge
  • Mount Street and Sky Ribbon Bridges
  • Joondalup Drive Bridge and Northbridge Tunnel
  • Trafalgar Brudge
  • Yagan Square

 

Queensland

  • Gabba
  • Storey Bridge (Monday, 13 June)
  • Kurilpa Bridge
  • Victoria Bridge
  • Brisbane City Hall
  • King George Square
  • Reddacliff Place Sculptures

 

South Australia

  • Adelaide Railway Station/Sky City Casino
  • City of Adelaide Town Hall
  • Riverbank Footbridge

 

NSW

  • The Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG)

 

The impact of our investment

Since 2014, FightMND have been proud to invest over $63 million in cure and care initiatives, however we would not be able to do this without the generosity of our incredible supporters.  

As Australia’s largest independent funder of MND research, FightMND have been diligently investing in research initiatives for eight years, and in that time, has been at the forefront of exciting new advancements in the sector.  

With over $55.9 million invested in MND research since 2014, FightMND have been proud to work closely with the ongoing support of the Australian public to make real progresstowards effective treatments and a cure.  

Thanks to the endless stream of support and donations from the FightMND Army, together we have been able to invest $50.5 million to fund 11 new clinical trials, 17 drug development projects, 15 IMPACT grants and 27 other research initiatives across Australia alone.  

But our reach doesn’t end there. FightMND have also been able to invest $5.4 million in international MND research, funding five drug development grants, and one clinical trial.  

Thanks to the support from everyone who has ever bought a beanie, held their own DIY Big Freeze, taken part in a SockIt2MND round, or raised funds through the 27 Challenge and Daniher’s Drive, more Australians living with MND than ever have had the opportunity to participate in research or clinical trials.  

FightMND Research Director, Dr Bec Sheehan said that with the support of our FightMND Army, research capacity in Australia has increased more than ever in the sector.  

“Thanks to your ongoing support, FightMND is able to progress vital research, and advance promising findings or discoveries through the research pipeline,” she said.  

“We have been able to support projects at all stages of the research pipeline, to better understand the disease and advance promising treatments towards a clinical trial.  

“By supporting researchers directly, through fellowships and scholarships, we are building research capacity in Australia, so the best and brightest minds are part of the fight against MND.” 

With your ongoing support, FightMND have also been able to invest $6.9 million towards the care of those living with MND. Every day, two people in Australia will be diagnosed with MND, and with the support of all of you, we have been able to fund vital assistive equipment to help care for and improve the quality of life for those who are battling the Beast of MND.  

Research is expensive, and it takes time, but together we have been able to bring the world closer to finding viable treatments, and one day a cure for this devastating disease.

What’s On – Big Freeze 8

This year, it’s time to Beanie On, Play On, as the Big Freeze makes its triumphant return to the MCG. With Big Freeze 8 just around the corner, we’re turning the G’ blue, with a crowd full of beanies, and the much-anticipated Big Freeze celebrity slide taking pride of place in the stands.  

What’s On – June 13 

After two years of interruptions, the Big Freeze will also see the return of the much-loved March to the ‘G from Federation Square, along Daniher’s Way. Not to be outdone, Collingwood will also play host to their own community festival at the AIA Centre with activities for the whole family to enjoy.  

In an exciting addition, this year is proving to be bigger and better than ever with a world class musical performance from hometown hero, Vance Joy!  

Following the iconic March to the ‘G, gates to the MCG are set to open from 12:30pm, with festivities kicking off as Vance Joy takes to the stage, performing hits like Missing Piece, and his new single Clarity from his forthcoming album ‘In Our Own Sweet Time’ (out June 10).  

Then get ready to watch your favourite Aussie celebrities take on the Big Freeze slide, plunging into the icy cold waters (featuring an array of crazy cool costumes).  

Over the course of the day, take in the excitement of the iconic clash between Melbourne and Collingwood, with match kick off set for 3:20pm, and the day reaches fever pitch as the players take the field.  

FightMND and the FightMND Army will be out in force, standing alongside you all, collecting donations and spreading awareness of the battle against the Beast.  

Forgot to bring your beanie along? There will be plenty of opportunities to pick one up, with stalls situated around the MCG selling this year’s limited edition Big Freeze 8 beanie. 

As one of the biggest events in the AFL calendar, the Big Freeze encourages footy fans of all teams to come together to raise funds for vital research into MND.  

It’s time to get ready to gear up and head on down to the MCG on 13 June, the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, to take part in all the fun.  

FightMND heads to Optus Stadium and Adelaide Oval (18 June) 

This year also sees the introduction of two additional matches, as we turn Adelaide and Perth Big Freeze blue too!  

On Saturday 18 June, South Australians can head over to Adelaide Oval for a special Port Adelaide vs Sydney Swans game. Grab your beanies and turn Adelaide Oval blue as FightMND and the FightMND Army come out in force!  

We’ll be there, collecting donations and spreading awareness of the battle against the Beast. If you’d like to help, there’s still time to volunteer for the Adelaide game, and join in the fight! We can’t wait to turn Adelaide blue with all of you.  

Over in Perth, you can also catch the West Coast Eagles take on Geelong at Optus Stadium on 18 June. Help us turn Optus Stadium blue by donning your Big Freeze 8 beanie and filling the stands with support for FightMND.  

FightMND be there with you all, raising vital funds for MND research, and helping Perth and West Australians take on the battle against the Beast. If you’d like to join us in the fight, you can sign up to volunteer at the game and help beat the Beast. See you there!