FightMND dinner serving up awareness in Portarlington

June 23, 2022 BY

Pier Front Pizzeria in Portarlington will host Team Monica Hayes' inaugural fundraising dinner to raise awareness and funding for FightMND. See more on page 13. Photos: VINNIE VAN OORSCHOT

PORTARLINGTON’S community is preparing to rally behind the fight against motor neurone disease (MND) with the help of a favoured local pizzeria.

Team Monica Hayes, led by Geoff Fary and featuring Portarlington FNC members Pete Evans, Darren Hellmann and Greg Hughes, is again raising funds for FightMND.

Hosting a fundraising dinner on Wednesday, June 29 at Pier Front Pizzeria on Newcombe Street, the team will add to the $100,000 in funds raised over the past six years and hopefully achieve the team’s goal of $25,000 in 2022 alone.

“We had hoped to host this event last year, but we needed to cancel it because of COVID-19,” lead organiser and husband to Ms Hayes, Mr Fary said.

“John and Erin Geracitano, the owners of Pier Front Pizzeria, were kind enough to make this event happen and will host us on the night, which we’re expecting 100 people to attend.”

Monica Hayes was a much-loved community activist, psychologist, and former mayor of the City of Essendon.

Mother to Sam and Bec, Monica’s life was cut short by MND in 2016, but she passed away “gratified” that she would leave a long-lasting legacy on her community.

“It’s going to be a relaxed night; people won’t be subjected to endless speeches,” Mr Fary said.

“We’ll all enjoy the excellent food provided by John and his team and hopefully have a drink or two while raffling off a couple of prizes to raise a little extra money.”

All funding by Team Monica Hayes will be collected in the lead up to the annual Daniher’s Drive, expected to include 100 vehicles this year and taking place from October 13-16.


Team Monica Hayes leader Geoff Fary with a picture of his late-wife Monica Hayes inside Pier Front Pizzeria in Portarlington.


Mr Fary and Team Monica Hayes has taken part in every Daniher’s Drive since 2016, completing the drive in Monica’s Subaru, her personal car before she passed away.

Vehicles will travel through regional communities such as Myrtleford, Lakes Entrance and Warragul to support these towns as they recover from bushfires and closures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

To donate to Team Monica Hayes head to their fundraising page at www.danihers.fightmnd.org.au/team-monica-hayes.

To express interest in the event or support the team get in touch with Geoff Fary at
0419 972 653.