Statistics tell a sad story – two people are diagnosed with MND (Motor Neurone Disease) every day and sadly two people die from MND everyday too.

For the community of Gunnedah, this is a familiar story. On average in Australia, 8.7 people per 100,000 have MND. But for Gunnedah, these statistics are far worse. From information coming through, Gunnedah has an average of more than 30 cases per 100,000 people. Something needs to change. Support workers believe the community must make MND a notifiable disease. By doing this, professionals can trace and link any reason or trigger for MND. With around 10 per cent of cases being genetically contracted, that makes 90 per cent sporadic, with no known cause. Motor Neurone Disease is a condition where the environment around the area of the Motor Neurone starts to decay and causes the Motor Neurone to detach from the muscle. This eventually causes muscle wastage and paralysis of the limbs. Eventually, it stops the suffers from moving, speaking and in the end, stop breathing.

Every year on the King’s Birthday long weekend the Australian charity FightMND host their main fundraiser at the MCG during an AFL match. This year, the Big Freeze 10 happened this past weekend where celebrities slid into a pool of ice water to do their part to help find a cure. In the 10 years it has existed, FightMND have raised a staggering $97 million in research and care initiatives. And more importantly – it has given hope.

Last year, Sunny Gunny, a team started by three disability support workers in Gunnedah, grew to become a whole community showing their support for those affected by this illness.

This was made up of 12 Sunnyfield co-workers along with family members affected, 12 teachers at St Xaviers Primary School and four teachers at Sacred Heart Boggabri. This incredible team raised a staggering $13,700 in total with thanks to everyone in the community and businesses getting behind the cause. More importantly, it showed a united front against the beast that is MND.

Sunnyfield Disability Services senior service manager Lauren Muggleton and team leader Timathy Richter are proud of last year’s achievements and are ready to go again.

“We were incredibly touched by not only the support of businesses and the community as a whole but the connections we built during this time within the Gunnedah and Boggabri communities,” Lauren said.

“So, to do our part in helping find a cure for MND, The Big Freeze is back in 2024.

“We are hosting our Big Freeze event this Saturday, June 15, at Kitchener Oval with a number of amazing community members being dunked with iced water.

“Bunnings will be hosting a barbecue with all proceeds going to FightMND and we have received amazing support from Kelahers, Whitehaven, Rotary Gunnedah West and a long list of donations of prizes and sponsorships from our local businesses.

“Come along and support this amazing cause. We have seen first hand what MND can do to locals and we want to show these amazing families our support,” Timathy said.

“After our Big Freeze you will catch this amazing community group at the AFL MND round at Wolseley Park on June 22 selling beanies, cookies and socks and then we are hosting a charity golf day on Sunday, June 30, at the Gunnedah Golf Club.”

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