Port Adelaide get behind MND charity

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SOUTH Australia will be the first state to host an extension of Neale Daniher’s Big Freeze with the “Adelaide fightMND” event at the Port Adelaide-Bulldogs game on Thursday night.

Beanies will be sold at the Power’s game at Adelaide Oval and also in Perth on June 21 when the Eagles play the Bombers.

For the first time a football match will raise funds and awareness for MND outside of the Queen’s Birthday match at the MCG.

Both of South Australia’s senior coaches, Port Adelaide’s Ken Hinkley and Adelaide’s Don Pyke, have spoken passionately about Motor Neurone Disease.

Hinkley said all of the coaches — who will slide into a ice-filled pool on Monday at the MCG — had been quick to accept an invitation to support FightMND.

Daniher, who was diagnosed with the crippling disease in 2013, is an ambassador and the public face of the charity.

Hinkley said it had been an easy decision to help the cause.

“It’s a great initiative by Neale, one that we’re all really happy to be supportive of,” Hinkley said. “And one that we look forward to getting a bit cold on.

“What a great cause. We’re all here to support the cause and I think the ‘beast’, as Neale refers to it, the disease, any small part that we can play in helping to find a cure for we’re more than happy about doing that.”

Pyke lost his father, well-known sports scientist and WAFL footballer Frank, to the disease in 2011.

The Big Freeze charity has become close to his heart.

“When it was first floated around, an opportunity for all of us to do it, I think every coach pretty much jumped at the chance to get behind Neale and a great cause,” Pyke said. “It’s going to be an interesting day.

“It’s going to be a fun day and I think that’s what Neale wants us to do, have some fun with it, raise awareness and some funds.

“For me, personally, I lost my father to MND so it’s something that’s pretty close to my heart.

“So when it was floated that we all get on board it was really easy to say yes.”

FightMND chief executive Jamie Howden noted the disease, for which there is still no cure, has affected several in the football community.

The captains of the Queen’s Birthday match, Melbourne’s Nathan Jones and Collingwood’s Scott Pendlebury, both lost their grandfathers to MND.

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon lost his mother to the illness.

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