Category: Big Freeze

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:


  • 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



  • 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



  • 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!

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

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