RE­BUILD­ING HOPE FOR A CURE

A Na­tional Trans­port In­sur­ance-spon­sored restora­tion of a 1946 In­ter­na­tional K5 has helped raise funds for a mo­tor neu­rone dis­ease sup­port and re­search fund­ing group. Cobey Bar­tels writes

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IN 1946 one par­tic­u­lar In­ter­na­tional Model K5, with the fa­mous ‘green di­a­mond’ en­gine, ar­rived in kit from the United States and was as­sem­bled in Gee­long.

No­body could have pre­dicted back then that the lit­tle K5 would be brought back to life spec­tac­u­larly by Na­tional Trans­port In­sur­ance (NTI) to raise money for mo­tor neu­rone dis­ease (MND) char­ity MND and Me.

The char­ity restora­tion was taken on af­ter well-known former NTI CEO Wayne Pat­ter­son was sadly di­ag­nosed with MND two years ago.

Wayne de­cided to raise aware­ness and live his life to the fullest while the dis­ease con­tin­ued to take hold, some­thing that in­spired his former em­ploy­ers to step in with the truck restora­tion and raise much-needed funds for MND and Me Foun­da­tion.

The NTI truck restora­tion saw the lit­tle In­ter go from beaten-up barn find to im­mac­u­lately re­stored col­lec­tor’s item in just four months, raising $55,020 for the MND and Me Foun­da­tion af­ter be­ing raf­fled off.

The ba­sis for the cam­paign, NTI CEO Tony Clark ex­plains, was to help the man who helped cre­ate the positive cul­ture that NTI has be­come known for.

“It’s all about Wayne Pat­ter­son … he took over NTI when it was re­ally on its knees,” Tony says. “Wayne was able to re­build this com­pany from where it was and help it on its way to where it is to­day.

“Even though he’s been out of there for 10 years, he left such a legacy that when we asked our peo­ple whether they’d get be­hind MND and Me as a char­ity they said, ‘Yep, ab­so­lutely, that’ll be our main char­ity from now on,’ so we have to con­tinue this with MND and Me.

“Wayne helped heal our or­gan­i­sa­tion, we’d like to con­trib­ute to try­ing to find a heal­ing path­way for mo­tor neu­rone dis­ease and this is part of that.”

WOR­THY WIN­NER

One lucky win­ner was an­nounced in Bris­bane’s King Ge­orge Square on Fri­day, Septem­ber 15 when the Green Di­a­mond, as it’s be­come af­fec­tion­ately known, was un­veiled to the pub­lic and cel­e­brated in the name of mo­tor neu­rone dis­ease aware­ness.

On the day, Trevor Fry from south Bris­bane took the lit­tle In­ter home and it couldn’t have gone to a more wor­thy win­ner, see­ing as Trevor was in­volved in the begin­nings of the MND and Me Foun­da­tion.

“It means the world ac­tu­ally, it’s not only me win­ning the truck, it’s MND and Me win­ning 55 grand. It’s a char­ity and a foun­da­tion that I’m very, very close to be­cause it was founded by one of my work­mates who was di­ag­nosed with MND when he was 36 years old and passed away at 38.

“When he was di­ag­nosed there was no sup­port for mo­tor neu­rone dis­ease at all and he de­cided that he wanted to spend the rest of his days build­ing a char­ity, so he did.

“My­self and two work­mates were the first fundraisers for the char­ity. We shaved our beards off and raised 20 grand, which our em­ploy­ers matched that dol­lar for dol­lar.

“It’s the trans­port in­dus­try com­ing to­gether as it does”

“It’s my char­ity of choice, so I bought a few tick­ets in this and it’s just fan­tas­tic.”

Trevor was blown away by the crafts­man­ship as he walked around his ’46 In­ter, shocked that some­thing a decade older than him could look brand new.

“I don’t know ex­actly what I’m go­ing to do with the truck but I’m cer­tainly go­ing to trea­sure it,” he says while sit­ting in the truck.

“I ap­pre­ci­ate all the work that NTI and all the peo­ple in­volved have done. I mean, you look at the truck and it’s 10 years older than me yet it looks just beau­ti­ful.”

The two run­ners up on the day, Wayne Wust and Leoni Roberts, got a $200 BP fuel voucher each, which should keep them mo­tor­ing well into the future. MND and Me works around the clock to raise aware­ness for MND, fight­ing to find a cure for the 2000 peo­ple cur­rently af­fected in Aus­tralia, as well as pre­par­ing for those di­ag­nosed in the future.

With an av­er­age life ex­pectancy of just 27 months fol­low­ing di­ag­no­sis, this neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease takes hold quickly and the ab­sence of a cure is some­thing MND and Me is fight­ing to change.

MND and Me CEO Paul Olds says he’s im­pressed by how much aware­ness NTI was able to raise with this project, ex­plain­ing that the money raised will be spent on im­por­tant re­search.

“The truck has done two re­ally big things: ob­vi­ously it has raised good money for re­search, but the aware­ness it’s cre­ated about mo­tor neu­rone dis­ease in the community is just huge,” he says.

“MND is not a well-known dis­ease so the more we can get its name out there and the more peo­ple un­der­stand it, the more dif­fer­ence we can make.

“It’s a mas­sive amount raised, and it shows the community re­ally got be­hind the project.

“We’re go­ing to put that into re­search, into find­ing a cure.”

Wayne Pat­ter­son was in hos­pi­tal on the day and sadly couldn’t at­tend the un­veil­ing of the In­ter­na­tional, how­ever his wife Lisa Pat­ter­son and her sis­ter Maryanne Vais­nys were there to fly the flag for Wayne, who they say is im­mensely proud of every­body in­volved.

Lisa says this project will leave a legacy for Wayne who has been pas­sion­ate about raising aware­ness for the dis­ease.

“We have our first grand­child at the end of Novem­ber and this is a legacy we can leave for our future grand­chil­dren when Wayne’s no longer here,” Lisa says.

“They can feel and see what their grandpa was all about and how truly loved and re­spected he was.”

TASK COM­PLETE

The resto was taken on by NTI ser­vice provider li­ai­son Don Geer and man­ager of sup­plier re­la­tion­ships Peeter Liiv. You’d be hard pressed find­ing two blokes more suit­able for the job.

With such a tight dead­line, the pair went up against the odds and came out on top with an end prod­uct that had to be seen to be be­lieved.

“The dead­line went from what was orig­i­nally 12 months to just less than four months!” Don laughs.

“To me, it’s the hard­est men­tally and phys­i­cally chal­leng­ing project that I’ve done, prob­a­bly in my life, be­cause of the time frame and the co­or­di­na­tion of all the ser­vice providers to make it hap­pen.

“But when it was all fin­ished, it was just re­ally emo­tion­ally grat­i­fy­ing to see; it blew me away.”

Peeter echoed Don’s state­ments, main­tain­ing the pair was over­joyed when they saw the fin­ished truck sit­ting in King Ge­orge Square as peo­ple swarmed around it to take a closer look.

“It was ex­actly how we wanted it to fin­ish off and it was beau­ti­ful to see it sit­ting there on the day,” Peeter says.

“I was ec­static and af­ter Don and

I were both so wor­ried we wouldn’t make the date, it was great to see how happy all the part­ners that helped were when they saw the fin­ished prod­uct – they couldn’t be­lieve it.”

Tony Clark at­tributes the suc­cess of the restora­tion to a trans­port in­dus­try that sticks to­gether and lends a hand for those in need.

“It’s the trans­port in­dus­try com­ing to­gether as it does and sup­pli­ers re­ally put some amaz­ing time and ef­fort into it, a lot of it do­nated, to cre­ate an in­cred­i­ble truck that looks so fan­tas­tic, so well fin­ished,” he says. “It’s such a close knit community … I couldn’t be prouder of every­body in­volved.”

NTI is plan­ning more restora­tions kick­ing off next year, and the way we see it, what bet­ter com­bi­na­tion is there than old-school trucks and char­ity?

The truck as it looked rolled out of an old shed. Worse for wear and miss­ing just a few bits and bobs!

Re­ceiv­ing the cheque for $55,020, left to right: MnD & Me CEO Paul Olds, NTI CEO Tony Clark, truck win­ner Trevor Fry and Triple M pre­sen­ter Marto

The cus­tom-pearled steer­ing wheel and im­mac­u­late dash setup, with era-ap­pro­pri­ate gold on wood grain colour scheme

Peeter Liiv, Tony Clark, the lucky win­ner Trevor Fry, Paul Olds and Don Geer cel­e­brate as the truck passes hands!

Wayne Pat­ter­son’s wife Lisa Pat­ter­son (right) with her sis­ter Maryanne Vais­nys

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