How The Big Freeze is fighting MND

One of Australia’s most-loved fundraising events  – The Big Freeze – is a key player in the fight against motor neurone disease, and it’s on at the MCG this weekend.

A favourite on the AFL calendar, The Big Freeze – a key awareness and fundraiser for Fight MND – makes a full-scale public return at the MCG on Monday.

Part of the half time entertainment in the clash between Collingwood and Melbourne the hugely popular celebrity slide will be rolled out as some of Australia’s most well-known faces who will take a plunge into the freezing ice bath.

For the first time, this year The Big Freeze will also feature as part of the game day activities in South Australia at the AFL game between Port Adelaide and Sydney Swans, and Western Australia at the game between the West Coast Eagles and Geelong Cats, on June 18.

The brave antics are all in support of helping people suffering from motor neurone disease.

What is motor neuron disease?

MND is a term used to describe a disease that affects nerve cells called motor neurones.

Motor neurones carry messages from the brain to the muscles via the spinal cord, which allows people to complete everyday movements.

For a person with MND, the nerves become damaged, and gradually the muscles that enable us to speak, swallow and breathe stop working and eventually die.

In Australia, there are more than 2000 people battling MND, and every day two people are diagnosed with this disease.

How does The Big Freeze help?

The Big Freeze, through events such as the celebrity slide and sale of its iconic blue beanies, raises awareness and funds for Fight MND, the organisation co-founded by AFL legend Neale Daniher (who has MND) to find a cure.

Fight MND has raised more than $48 million for research and treatment for the disease dubbed “The Beast”.

How Fight MND is fighting MND

While the cause of MND is still unknown, treatments are being developed against the later stage mechanisms of the disease to help slow it down, so patients with the disease can spend more time with their loved ones and improve their quality of life.

So far, Fight MND has supported 11 clinical trials which has given more than 500 patients the chance to take part, and 17 new therapies are being developed.

Associate professor at the Florey Institute, Brad Turner, leads a research team that investigates the causes of MND.

He says having advanced technology – funded by Fight MND – helps get lifesaving drugs into MND patients as quickly as possible.

“Using traditional clinical trials can take 10-15 years.

“Patients with MND cannot wait … with the aid of this high-end equipment we’re able to accelerate the process of finding effective drugs for MND,” Assoc Prof Turner told House of Wellness TV.

How to support Fight MND

You can help Fight MND by purchasing this year’s beanie Big Freeze 8 at Coles, Coles Express, Bunnings or online at Shout For Good, hosting your own Big Freeze fundraising event, or making a donation.

For find out more about the Fight MND story, tune in to The House of Wellness TV, Friday at 2pm or Sunday at 12 noon.

Written by Savannah Pocock.

PHOTO: Fiona Hamilton.