27 June 2016
As the sea of blue moved towards the MCG on the Queen’s birthday Monday raising awareness of Motor Neurone Disease, one of the many blue-beanie clad heads in amongst the crowd was leading MND researcher Professor Matthew Kiernan.
Former AFL player and MND sufferer, Neale Daniher, has mobilised the might of the AFL community to get behind his #FreezeMND campaign to raise funds for research into this insidious and currently incurable disease.
His incredible efforts in raising awareness and funds will directly contribute to the work of Professor Kiernan, who is currently working on research to develop new treatments for MND. The Federal Health Minister, the Hon Sussan Ley attended the Freeze at the G and committed to the government matching all funds raised on the day, leading to more than $5.5 million.
NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellow, Professor Kiernan (pictured), is buoyed by the additional funds from the public and the Australian government which will ensure the establishment of a national clinical trials consortium.
The Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney, where Professor Kiernan’s team works, will be running the trials with interstate colleagues. There may also be specific grants to come from the increased funding.
MND is universally fatal. More than two Australians die from the disease every day but the additional funding will significantly help advance the research to come up with a treatment.
Professor Kiernan paid tribute to the man who has mobilised the AFL, the football world and the wider community through his own fight with MND. “Neale is amazing! He has worked tirelessly and essentially has transformed the MND landscape in Australia.
”With this funding we have been able to bring nine clinical trial sites together from across the country – to have a cohesive group, to bring new therapies to Australian patients.”
Professor Kiernan also appeared on a recent edition of Sunday Night on Channel 7, which featured Neale Daniher’s story. It’s an incredible story of Neale and two other family friends and connections, now also afflicted with MND and well worth a watch.