Neale Daniher wants to drive a cure for MND

CPA Australia chief executive Alex Malley with footy legend Neale Daniher.

CPA Australia joins the push to solve the puzzle of motor neurone disease with a four-day adventure across Victoria called Daniher's Drive.

Last year, Facebook news feeds across the globe were temporarily hijacked as ordinary people and celebrities shivered and shrieked their way through the Ice Bucket Challenge. It was embarrassingly entertaining and eventually raised more than US$115 million for research into motor neurone disease (MND).

Two people are diagnosed with MND every day in Australia, and the degenerative condition kills another two people each day in the country. In August 2014, Australian Rules football legend Neale Daniher announced he was battling MND.

The former Essendon player and Melbourne coach has now dedicated his life to educating people about the condition and raising money for research. In less than a year, he’s raised A$2.5 million.

MND, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease in the US, is an umbrella term for a group of diseases that attack the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control muscle movement. The condition has a cruel progression, trapping people with active minds in increasingly paralysed bodies, unable to move, speak or eat unaided.

Former CPA Australia chief executive Alex Malley says many members have been touched by MND. He says CPA Australia is taking up the challenge to help raise research funds for a cure by supporting Daniher and his Daniher’s Drive initiative.

MND has no cure, although drug treatment can slow its progress. On average, life ends only 27 months after diagnosis, although there are rare exceptions. Professor Stephen Hawking has lived with MND for more than 40 years and educator Dr Paul Brock, who Malley interviewed in the March 2015 issue of INTHEBLACK, has had the disease for 18 years.

“As a community, we’re too clever not to come together on this, but there’s no time to waste,” says Malley.

“If we mobilise the best of our resources, finding a cure is absolutely within our reach.”

Daniher’s Drive is a four-day road trip across Victoria, commencing on Thursday 15 October. The route follows the Great Ocean Road to Warrnambool, before turning inland to the Grampians and on to Bendigo and up to the border. Drivers will stop overnight in Warrnambool, Bendigo and Albury, with Melbourne waving the chequered flag on Sunday 18 October.

A similar event (a return trip from Perth to Northam) will take place in Western Australia on 16-18 October. This drive is now in its third year and all money raised goes to the Motor Neurone Disease Association of WA for their care and support services.

"If we mobilise the best of our resources, finding a cure is absolutely within reach." 

The Victorian drive is already fully subscribed, with CPA Australia being the gold sponsor of the event. The CPA Australia logo will be displayed on all starting cars. Brendan O’Connell FCPA and Terry Brooks FCPA from the Victorian Divisional Council and CPA Australia staff will crunch the gears behind the wheels of two CPA Australia cars participating in the drive. 

You can make a donation to the Fight MND site.

“Research is critical and the backing of the entire community – including government – can make a difference. I know that our best and brightest minds stand ready to solve this once and for all,” Malley says.

“Let’s join our hearts and our minds and rally for a cure.”

Read next: Paul Brock's passion for education proves essential in battling MND

December/January 2022
December/January 2022

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