AFL great Neale Daniher says the Riverina is playing a vital part in the fight against motor neurone disease (MND).
Daniher’s crusade against the deadly disease will again take AFL’s centre stage on Monday when he holds the ‘Big Freeze 3 at the MCG'.
The following Saturday, June 17, the Riverina, Farrer and Hume Leagues will hold their very first ‘Sock it to MND’ round in support of Daniher’s campaign.
Daniher for the past two years has been the inspiration behind Australia's most successful fundraising campaign for MND research and the man who hails from Ungarie could not be prouder of his home region for joining in the fight.
“It’s great that the football community in the Farrer, Hume and Riverina are getting involved,” Daniher said.
“We can’t do anything without people’s support. When I was diagnosed three years ago, it was quite hopeless, there was nothing really happening and it’s only through the generosity of the wider community that we’ve been able to accelerate development and clinical trials that’s giving MND sufferers hope and it’s all been driven from grassroots really.”
Daniher was diagnosed with MND more than three years ago. His disease has progressed a lot slower than the average but that does not change the prognosis.
“Well it’s a terminal illness, it progresses, there’s no remission, I don’t get better," Daniher said.
Daniher said his message for the Riverina, firstly, was a big thank you. But he also declared that the fight against MND has only just begun.
“Number one is a big thank you. Number two is it is making a difference. Every dollar counts," he said.
“With that money we’ve been able to progress development and clinical trials and we would like to thank them for giving MND families hope.
“And thirdly, we made the start, the fight has begun but we need the ongoing support, there’s still a long way to go. We don’t think it’s incurable, it’s just under-funded, without the funding we can’t fight MND.”
Daniher also revealed that this year’s ‘Daniher Drive’ will start in Wagga with a community event and sportsmen’s night in October. There is also plans for events in Lockhart or Osborne, Corowa and Echuca.
Daniher still considers the Riverina home.
“Very much so. The Riverina, especially the Northern Riverina,” he said.
“Wagga’s sort of the central location. I’ve got four family members living there now, and cousins, so it’s sort of a central hub.
“I really appreciate everyone in that area getting behind the cause. The fight has begun due to the overwhelming response but we’ve still got a lot to do and we hope people continue the fight.”