DANIHER’S DRIVE – a fun four-day road-trip extravaganza set to raise much needed awareness and funds to find a cure for Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
BACK in the 1970s, Assumption College cooked up regional footy stars for the AFL like no other school in Victoria. Neale Daniher came from one of their prized batches.
Young Wendy Keogh was a year behind him. So was her future husband, John. They remember that Neale was polite, smart and a sporting champion already in those school days. And very cheeky.
“He called me ‘Legs’,” says Wendy. “But really, he was the one with the legs.” It wasn’t easy being one of only 12 girls, a day student at the celebrated boarding school.
Neale went on to become one of the game’s all-time legends. (Ironically, it was his knees that ended his Essendon footy playing career early.)
The couple, who married some years later, occasionally crossed paths with Neale at functions. When they heard through mutual friends that he had The Beast of a disease MND, they wanted to help raise money in the hunt for a cure.
They have succeeded. This year, the pair will drive their Grasshopper Team car in the Daniher Drive to help raise money for FightMND, of which Neale is patron.
In July, local businesses around their home town of Wagga Wagga chipped in to help them stage the Big Bush Freeze – the country version of FightMND’s Big Freeze 3 at the G on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. They had nine local sliders and a bucketload of goodwill from sponsors and individuals who put in money and time.
More than $40,000 was raised on the day. Spurred on by the success, Wendy and John believe they’re a real chance to take out the Daniher Drive’s top prize for most money raised for the cause.
“We are just a bit competitive. We have a few things up our sleeve to try and be the largest fundraising team for this year’s event ,” Wendy says. “But mostly we just want to help out a great man. If a cure can’t be found in time for Neale, then maybe one will be found for all those other people he and FightMND are trying to help.”
John’s hoping he can cross the Daniher Drive finish line at least ahead of the other Assumption car motoring through regional Victoria in October.
“We all liked winning back then and we all still do,” he says. “We’re doing it for Neale and for a great cause – so get in behind us.”
Donate money to Team Grasshoppers: https://danihersdrive2017.everydayhero.com/au/the-grasshoppers