Off and driv­ing

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Mathoura’s Al­lan Wat­son got his Holden HQ revving yes­ter­day for Dani­her’s Drive, to raise funds for Mo­tor Neu­rone Dis­ease.

Dani­her’s Drive is a four-day trip through re­gional Vic­to­ria and New South Wales or­gan­ised by for­mer Essendon footballer Neale Dani­her to raise aware­ness and much-needed funds to fight MND, par­tic­u­larly since his own di­ag­no­sis four years ago.

Mr Wat­son, who is 69 years old, said this is his sec­ond drive. He said the main rea­son for par­tic­i­pat­ing is be­cause it’s ‘‘sim­ply a good cause’’.

‘‘I’m do­ing it be­cause I’m an Essendon sup­porter, and to help out the Dani­hers,’’ he said.

‘‘The Dani­her name is a prom­i­nent one at Essendon and it’s fan­tas­tic what they’ve done for MND aware­ness.

‘‘He (Dani­her) started this char­ity from scratch and has worked hard to bring aware­ness.’’

When Mr Wat­son par­tic­i­pated in the drive last year, he raised about $10,000 for the cause.

He con­ser­va­tively set an ini­tial goal to raise $4000 this year, and at the time of go­ing to print yes­ter­day Mr Wat­son had smashed his goal.

At a char­ity event in Mathoura last Fri­day night Mr Wat­son raised $5500. His to­tal yes­ter­day was $5,976.

This year’s drive started yes­ter­day in Mel­bourne, at The Hy­att Place in Essendon Fields.

By the time it ends on Sun­day, the par­tic­i­pants will have passed through Wan­garatta, into south­ern Rive­rina to­wards Wagga Wagga and the Mur­rumbidgee River, Corowa, Echuca, through to the Wim­mera re­gion to St Ar­naud and south to Bal­larat be­fore mak­ing it back to Mel­bourne.

‘‘It’s a dif­fer­ent route to last year,’’ Mr Wat­son said.

‘‘It should be an en­joy­able drive. The old HQ has been on about 10 trips and I haven’t had a prob­lem yet.’’

The route through the Rive­rina pays homage to Mr Dani­her’s fam­ily, who call the re­gion their ‘home­land’.

‘‘Peo­ple know about the Big Freeze and the bean­ies, that’s our city event; Dani­her’s Drive is our ru­ral and coun­try fundrais­ing event. It’s our third year do­ing it, and each even­ing we have a fan­tas­tic night,’’ Mr Dani­her said.

‘‘There are 100 cars tak­ing part that have been fundrais­ing for nine months; the drive is a cel­e­bra­tion and a fun three or four days to raise aware­ness.

‘‘We’re fight­ing MND, but it’s al­ways fun as we fundraise.’’

Mr Dani­her was di­ag­nosed with MND in 2013 and con­tin­ues to drive his bril­liant cam­paign aimed at find­ing a cure for a dis­ease he re­ferred to as ‘‘the beast’’.

‘‘It slowly paral­y­ses the body be­cause the mus­cles stop work­ing. Even­tu­ally you can’t walk or talk, or speak and swal­low,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s typ­i­cally ag­gres­sive and not a great way to go.

‘‘If we don’t find a cure Aus­tralians will keep dy­ing from this dis­ease. It’s im­por­tant, and when I was di­ag­nosed three or four years ago very lit­tle was known.

‘‘Now, through the gen­eros­ity of peo­ple all over Aus­tralia, we’re mak­ing progress.’’

The drive ar­rives in Echuca tonight, where a Com­edy Gala Auc­tion night at the Dun­gula Event Cen­tre will fea­ture su­per­star co­me­di­ans Dave Hughes and Adam Rozen­bachs.

To do­nate to Mr Wat­son’s char­ity drive ef­fort, go to https://curemnd.kind­ful.com/dani­hers­drive/mathoura.

Al­lan Wat­son set off in his Holden HQ on Dani­her’s Drive yes­ter­day. Photo cour­tesy Art of Zowie Pho­tog­ra­phy.

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