Portarlington transforms into sea of blue beanies as drive passes through
PORTARLINGTON transformed into a sea of blue beanies last week when hundreds of participants taking part in the 2019 Daniher’s Drive made a pitstop in the town.
Students from Christian College Drysdale played music at the top of the rotunda as the cars rolled in, before Portarlington Primary School children performed two dance sequences, much to the delight of about 200 onlookers.
MC Richard Underwood welcomed all the FightMND (Motor neurone disease) teams and visitors to Portarlington, which he described as the jewel of the Bellarine.
“In particular, we would like to welcome the FightMND patriot and inspirational leader Neale Daniher and his family, and the support team who put together events like this,” Mr Underwood said.
“I’m certain that everyone here today will have been touched by MND in some way, either through family or someone you know who has suffered from this hideous disease.
“Most of you know that Neale has suffered from this disease for more than five years now, and when he was diagnosed he could have actually given up… but to his enormous credit he didn’t and he took on what he calls the beast, devoting all his time and energy into finding a cure for MND.
“We salute you Neale and wish you all the best.”
Mr Underwood also paid tribute to Portarlington local Geoff Fary – an avid supporter of the FightMND – who lost his wife Monica to the disease in 2016.
“I’m sure I wouldn’t be standing here now if it wasn’t for the commitment of another man, Geoff Fary,” he said.
“Geoff lost his beloved wife Monica just over three years ago now.
“Ironically, and in some ways fittingly, it would have been Monica’s 67th birthday today and so it brings back some special memories and a special time for Geoff.”
Mr Underwood said Geoff had been an avid supporter of FightMND for a number of years now.
“I should actually know, but I forgot to count the number of beanies I have at home,” he joked.
“This is five years now, and during that time, Geoff has raised $80,000 towards the cause and that’s through both the beanies and his involvement in the Daniher’s Drive… in Monica’s old clapped out Suburu, so he continues that memory on.
“In fact, at the end of this year’s drive, he will exceed $100,000 in funds towards what will ultimately be a cure for MND.
“I’m sure that Geoff would agree that without the support of our fantastic community here at Portarlington this wouldn’t be possible.
“We are so blessed to have a wonderful community that turns out for every worthwhile cause, and this is another great example.”
Mr Underwood thanked the school students for their performances, Daniel’s Donuts for serving up their scrumptious donuts to drive participants and attendees, Mr Mussel for their delicious mussels, the Lions Club of Portarlington for their sausage sizzle, and the Fight MND team for nominating Portarlington as its first stopover.
FightMND CEO Jamie Howden said a big thank you to the Portarlington community and indeed the Bellarine Peninsula.
“It’s beautiful to be here and look over the bay, it’s wonderful this is our first stop, and to you school kids, you were magnificent… I had my toes taping and everyone was clapping and you were the stars of the show in my eyes and everyone else’s,” Mr Howden said.
“To all the Portarlington business and community that have come out today it’s been fantastic.
“And to Geoff, you’ve been a huge part of FightMND, it’s a very touching story about Monica and unbelievable that today is her birthday and very touching for us to be a part of it.
“You’ve been with us since day one of the drive and thanks for having us at your local town and thanks for being part of our organisation.”
Meanwhile, the battle to beat MND has a received a very welcome boost with Premier Daniel Andrews pledging $1,000,000 dollars to FightMND via last week’s Daniher’s Drive.
For more details, visit fightmnd.org.au/events/2019-danihers-drive.