Ric­cia­rdo to at­tend MND fundraiser

Southern Gazette (Belmont) - - NEWS - Kristie Lim

FOR­MULA 1 star Daniel Ric­cia­rdo will be part of the MNDi Soiree fundraiser for mo­tor neu­rone dis­ease (MND) at Crown Tow­ers on December 12.

Or­gan­iser As­sunta Meleca said “he will be there bar­rack­ing for us… he knows that ev­ery sin­gle cent counts in help­ing peo­ple to dig deep”.

“We have got some re­ally amaz­ing auc­tion items that are up for grabs that Daniel has given us that has never been auc­tioned be­fore and are his.

“We hope to achieve def­i­nitely well into the six dig­its and to be able to give it to the CCG so they can re­ally work pretty much full­time on our cause.”

Ms Meleca, who has seen six fam­ily mem­bers di­ag­nosed with MND, is rac­ing to find a cure and treat­ment for her fam­ily and all suf­fer­ers from in­her­ited forms of the dis­ease.

She lost four fam­ily mem­bers to the de­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease, in­clud­ing her late fa­ther.

Her sis­ter and cousin were also di­ag­nosed with the fa­mil­ial form of MND.

Six months ago, Ms Meleca got cleared from the dis­ease, which led her to quit her long-term job at St Hilda’s Angli­can School for Girls, to form her foun­da­tion, Rac­ing for MNDi (the ‘i’ stands for in­her­ited forms).

Ms Meleca said the foun­da­tion raised more than $80,000 to­wards the re­search of Mur­doch Univer­sity’s Cen­tre for Com­par­a­tive Ge­nomics (CCG), which used her fam­ily to in­ves­ti­gate treat­ment and pre­ven­tion of the dis­ease.

“(My sis­ter) is a year on now; so it has been a year since she was di­ag­nosed and she is start­ing to lose her abil­ity to eat and she has lost her speech,” she said.

“I got tested and I am clear… I did not want to tell my sis­ter that I was clear be­cause I felt bad but it’s an ab­so­lute re­lief be­cause it means that my boys can’t carry through the ge­netic form ei­ther.

“If one of your fam­ily mem­bers has it – my dad had the gene ob­vi­ously – it is 50-50 chance of it get­ting passed on.

“It has been just over 80 years since the first di­ag­no­sis and there is no cure and now that I don’t have the gene, I feel like I have got even more en­ergy to keep on go­ing and to find that cure.”

The All Saints Col­lege part­time art teacher said the re­searchers could test peo­ple if they had the in­her­ited form and see if their tech­niques could stop the dis­ease from go­ing fur­ther.

“They have been work­ing on my cousin and my sis­ter’s skin cells and grow­ing them to see and start work­ing with them that way,” she said.

Visit https://www.face­book. com/rac­ing­form­ndi.

Book at https://www.try­book­ing.com/book/event?eid=330566.

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MND fundraiser As­sunta Meleca.

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