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By: Joseph Arthur 


THE Eastern Football League is getting behind the Sockit2MND Round this weekend in support of Fight MND. 

Fans and players alike are encouraged to donate to the foundation in any way they can to further help the fight against the incurable, terminal disease that is motor neurone disease (MND).

Fight MND media and communications manager, Andrew Holmes, said that the foundation’s partnerships with local communities and sporting organisations play a substantial role in creating awareness for the cause.

“It’s bloody important that we branch-out to broader communities,” Holmes said.

“Fight MND has always been a foundation that has been supported by the Australian community, whether it is through third-party fundraisers, the ‘Big Freeze’ with beanies or just donations.

“It’s really a community-based and focussed foundation, so for us to be able to create a campaign like ‘Sockit2MND’ that talks through and creates awareness of MND into more localised communities, it serves us well.”

With the foundation in its fifth year and almost $30 million invested into MND research, Holmes said that ‘Big Freeze 5’ has seen the most progress towards finding a cure.

“$28.8 million has already gone into MND medical research and that’s happening now,” Holmes said.

“Neale was diagnosed in late 2013, so in five years $28.8 million has gone out, but this is the first year really, that we’re starting to see some progress and some outcomes, albeit early days in the labs.

“We want to reassure people if they buy a beanie, donate, contribute to a dunking machine or a fundraiser at the local footy club, that the money’s being invested almost immediately into what we’re all about.

“We’ve got to find a way to try and reverse the disease, arrest it, slow it down and find a cure for generations to come, give people some hope.”

Blackburn veteran and former club captain Michael Prendergast is set to play his 200th senior game this weekend and he plans to do his bit for MND by being dunked into freezing cold water on the day as the Panthers take on Rowville.

Prendergast said that he understands the importance of supporting Fight MND round, praising his footy club’s desire to support the Danihers and the broader cause.

“We know his (Neale Daniher’s) son Ben, he’s played here (Blackburn) basically since it was announced that Neale was going through this MND fight,” Prendergast said.

“For the club it’s always been, ‘How do we get behind the Daniher family?’ and it’s just done so in flying colours.

“Every decision it makes is just around, ‘How can we better support Ben and his family?’ but also the broader MND fight that’s happening as well.

“I feel like the club has really shown exactly what it’s here to do and that’s to support its own players and supporters.”

Since the introduction of the Big Freeze, the MND cause is one that’s very close to home throughout football communities and the disease is one that has impacted so many lives and families in horrible ways.

Prendergast said that dunking himself into freezing water doesn’t come close to what those suffering have to deal with on a daily basis, but it’s doing the little things that can have a big impact.

“Just doing something small like getting dunked in freezing water is so minimal compared to what people and families are going through,” Prendergast said.

“But I think with the whole movement towards trying to find a cure, until that happens we just have to keep the focus on trying to raise as much money as we can.

“That for me is the biggest point of the whole fight; there is no cure now, and people are suffering.”

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