FOSTER is soon to play host to the 245 participants of Daniher’s Drive when they arrive in town on Saturday October 15 to enjoy morning tea on Day Three of their four-day road-trip extravaganza which is set to raise much needed awareness and funds to find a cure for Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
The driving force behind the road-trip is Neale Daniher AM who achieved great success as an Essendon AFL player and coach but who, unfortunately has the biggest battle of his life ahead of him. Diagnosed with MND in 2013, Neale has pledged the time he has left to raising awareness about this incurable disease and to play some part in accelerating the fight to cure MND.
The inaugural Daniher’s Drive took place in 2015 and the participants thoroughly enjoyed meeting the locals at each of their stops. Once again, the itinerary has been ingeniously designed to allow time for the participants to enjoy meeting the locals as well as taking in the views.
“We are all looking forward to going along to the Foster Farmers’ Market,” said Jan Daniher, adding that this will be a great chance for people to meet Neale and members of his sporting family, in addition to fellow participants Simon Madden, Clint Bizzell and ex-Melbourne players David Neitz and Guy Rigoni.
The 70 vehicles and their occupants will arrive in Foster at 11am on Saturday October 15 and will have a look at the market and chat with the locals before having morning tea at the FWMAC hall. We will be heading off to Inverloch at 11.45am,” Jan said.
Jan said that everyone is welcome to meet the participants at the market and to bring along a pen and paper for autographs and a camera for happy snaps. There will be donation tins for those who would like to make a donation to the fight against MND and donations can also be made on the website at www.curemnd.org.au (at the top right hand side of the home page).
The groups’ four-day driving odyssey will begin on October 13 when the teams take off from Bulleen in Melbourne’s north-east and head for the high country of Mansfield, Bright and Mt Hotham before meeting the locals who will join them at a fundraising dinner at the Hotel High Plain at Dinner Plain.
Day Two will see them take in the sights of Omeo, Bruthen and Lakes Entrance before arriving in Sale, where they will attend the ‘Olympic’ themed Sportsperson Dinner fundraising event Friday October 14 at the Sale Memorial Hall. This night will be filled with entertainment with a multiple panels including newly returned Rio Olympians as well as current and former Australian cricketers, including Merv Hughes, and AFL footballers. Guests will enjoy a three course meal with a main auction and silent auction on the night with all monies raised going to Cure for MND Foundation – is a 100% not-for profit foundation.
Neale first noticed something was amiss when he struggled hanging out the washing. After nine months of testing, he received a devastating diagnosis – he was in the early stages of MND;
“I didn’t know a lot about MND, but I knew you didn’t want to get it,” he said.
“There is no prevention, no treatment, no cure – and that is why I am talking because we need to find some prevention, treatment or cure. A tragedy of the disease is you’re a witness to your body dying,” he said.
“Every 12 hours someone gets MND in Australia, and every 12 hours someone dies. But it’s an anonymous killer. Not many people know about it,” he added.
Despite the sad prognosis, the future is anything but bleak. Neale knows that it will be hard on both him and his family but his immense mental and physical strength will be a powerful force against this horrible disease.
“Count your blessings. It’s been a good ride so far. I’ve been lucky,” Neale said.
The good ride continues……so be sure to come along on Saturday October 15 to Foster’s Farmer’s Market when ride brings Daniher’s Drive to town.