Off and driving
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.