Most high school reunions happen at births, weddings and other milestones – but for Narelle Crawford, it happened on Daniher’s Drive.
The Wodonga school teacher met Naomi Beasley at Cobram High School and in the years following supported Naomi as her mother, Lorna, battled motor neurone disease.
So when Naomi asked Ms Crawford and three other friends and family to ride in the ‘Lorna’s Girls’ car for the statewide fundraising drive, her answer came quick.
“We saw what Naomi and her family went through and what Lorna went through,” she said.
“Her brother did this drive last year so she wanted to bring together a crew.
“We’ve raised $14,000 for our team and we started at a $5000 target.”
Already, Neale Daniher’s second drive across Victoria to support research into MND has raised upwards of $700,000.
His brother, Anthony, said Neale was ecstatic to reach his fundraising goal before day one of the drive had even ended at Dinner Plain.
“The first year we had 40 cars and this year we have 60 – Neale’s goal next year is over 100,” he said.
“It’s amazing the people that come out who actually have MND and continue to encourage him to do what he’s doing.
“What Neale tries to do is surround himself with positive people and make the best of a pretty horrible illness.”
For Ms Beasley, Neale’s efforts have put MND on the radar – something that would have helped when her mother fought the disease.
“She was 48 and back then, 14 years ago, there was not much awareness at all about the disease and she basically self-diagnosed,” she said.
“She was fit, active and healthy so it was a real shock.
“At first she couldn’t walk, then she lost the use of all her other limbs and in the end couldn’t swallow or breathe.
“It’s cruel … basically a breakdown of yourself.”
Ms Beasley’s mother died within three years of being diagnosed.
The Cure for MND Foundation has funded two new clinical trials this year alone and it’s Neale’s hope a cure will be found within years.
It’s something the Lorna’s Girls team and Ms Beasley felt honoured to be a part of.
“The awareness he has created around this is just amazing, hes done an amazing job and is such an inspirational person,” she said.
“It’s a nice way to remember my mum.”