15/04/2024

A mural in Neale Daniher's honour has been unveiled at Turners Alley in Melbourne (Photo: Jackson Mansell)

During Thursday’s launch of this year’s Big Freeze campaign, a mural in honour of FightMND’s fearless leader Neale Daniher was unveiled.

The Big Freeze campaign was launched for a ninth straight year, raising awareness for motor neurone disease (MND). 

Revealed at the launch at Turners Alley in Melbourne, the mural’s artist Vincent Fantauzzo said that Neale’s morals and persona throughout his fight against MND has been inspiring. 

“After I met Neale for the first time, I left feeling like I could take the world on and Neale has that effect on people,” Fantauzzo said. 

“The way he promotes family and supportiveness and togetherness and fighting MND is such an inspiration.” 

Demons defender Jake Lever spoke about the mural painted in Neale’s honour, explaining that the artwork symbolises the contribution Neale has made in conquering the beast, as well as the collective support the footy community has provided over the last nine years. 

“You just have to look around at the crowd today to see how many people are here, how many blue beanies there are. It’s quite amazing to be able to witness it,” Lever said. 

“[The mural] is pretty special, and I think it just attests to the impact that [Neale has] had throughout the community over the last nine ‘Big Freezes’.”

More Aussie Rules News:

Big Freeze 9 will headline the King’s Birthday match between Melbourne and Collingwood which if both sides maintain their positions on the ladder, it will be a top of the table encounter. 

Despite the potential circumstances, Lever said that King’s Birthday at the MCG is about more than a footy.

“When you walk out on the ground and you look up in the crowd, there’s so many blue beanies, it’s so inspirational,” Lever said. 

“In that moment, you realise that it’s more than a football game. As much as we want to put on a show, it’s such a privilege and an honour to be able to play in that game.”  

Collingwood vice-captain Taylor Adams echoed the same views as Lever, saying that the win is secondary on a day like King’s Birthday. 

“A day like we see on that Monday is so much bigger than the four points that we play for,” Adams said.  

FightMND Campaign Director Bec Daniher has been taken aback by the support from the footy community for this cause, recalling the events of Big Freeze 8. 

“After two years where we didn’t get to see that crowd coming out in force, standing at the MCG…I didn’t see anyone without a blue beanie. We just saw a sea of blue,” Daniher said.

“It’s a time where the colours are dropped down and we unite behind the blue beanie for our family and more importantly for all the families out there impacted by MND, it just shows the solidarity to continue to fight back against the beast.”

You can purchase your Big Freeze 9 beanies from Coles, Bunnings or on the FightMND website between now and June 12.  

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