Frost bites back against MND

Twelve people braved an ice-cold water dunk on a crisp 10°C Saturday morning at Kitchener Oval, which for many would have been a daunting task to leave a heated house for, but it was well worth giving up the comfort for the cause to those facing the ice bucket.

Arguably the most viral content to come out of 2014 was those posts captioned #ALSIceBucketChallenge, which anyone who had social media during that time could probably remember freezing through the screen just watching water thrown onto nominees’ heads.

It quickly became one of the greatest examples of viral marketing done well. It had everyone from the crazy rich and famous to the young children in Gunnedah drenched by ice water.

It is estimated that more than 17 million people shared their nomination on social media.

However, this challenge never actually left – and the reason behind risking the cold was never just a fun internet trend.

FightMND’s Big Freeze Challenge is an annual fundraiser, now a decade after its rise to fame, it still has the aim of raising money for research and assistance for those living with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

MND is a condition that progressively damages parts of the nervous system, taking away the ability to use limbs, eat, swallow and eventually breathe.

It is classed as a rare disease, but Gunnedah’s diagnosis numbers are alarmingly high to Sunnyfield Disability Services team leader Tim Richter.

“Our statistics are crazy around here,” he said. “We are at about 30 people per 100,000 mark. The average is 8.7 per 100,000, which is way too high.”

He was among those receiving the ice bucket including participants from Sunnyfield Disability Services and others who knew the impact of the disease on the sufferer and their tribe.

There were plenty of characters being ‘iced’ this year, including Tim who was dressed as the Swedish Chef. Lauren Muggleton and Allahna Marsh were the resident grannies getting dunked with the support of their younger duo, Tilly and Katey Muggleton. Luke Perrett returned this year as Spiderman and Gunnedah’s favourite penguin Beck Henderson was ready to slide on ice. Liz Brown and Bridget McEvoy also joined the mix this year while no one was bluer before and after facing the ice bucket than Madden, Wynter and Ebonee Gerrard.

Bunnings came through with the snags while the Railway Hotel were keen to keep those buckets cold by supplying the ice.

This is the second year the Sunny Gunny team has been involved in the Big Freeze, last year aiming to raise $10,000 and smashing the ice ceiling by raising $13,700 by getting schools involved.

Saturday’s dunking totalled the current money raised to $11,000 this year and the aim has been raised to $20,000 ahead of next week’s golf game teeing off.

“We need to make it a notifiable disease so we can actually track and trace what is going on,” Tim said.

“[For example,] if there are any known links, if it is chemical, if it is neuro toxins or what is actually causing it – if we can find that common denominator.

“We have got to fight this disease because it is so debilitating. It takes away your ability to move, it takes away your ability to speak and eventually it takes your ability to breathe – and that is exactly what the ice does to you.”

Back, Matt Brown, Bernie McEvoy. Front, Liz Brown and Bridget McEvoy.

Back, Matt Brown, Bernie McEvoy. Front, Liz Brown and Bridget McEvoy.

Above: Sam Sheridan, Tim Richter and Allahna Marsh pouring ice cold water on Madden, Wynter and Ebonee Gerrard. The Big Freeze Challenge raises money for further research into Motor Neurone Disease.

Madden, Wynter and Ebonee Gerrard.

Barbara Perrett pouring the ice water on Luke Perrett.

Tim Richter.

Beck Henderson.

Sam Sheridan dunking Lauren Muggleton and Allahna Marsh.

Katey Muggleton.

Anticipation: Lauren Muggleton and Allahna Marsh prepare to dunk Tilly and Katey Muggleton.

Katey Muggleton.

Tilly Muggleton.

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