The humble man behind the Superchallenge

January 6, 2023 BY

Group effort: Fundraisers for MND have been held yearly at the Heathcote Bowling Club since 2016. Photos: SUPPLIED

WHEN bowlers take to the greens at Heathcote Bowling Club this Australia Day, it’ll be because of the impact one man had on the lives of those around him.

In 2015 Dennis Gleeson was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and it left many of his friends wondering what they could do.

A few months later Mr Gleeson’s situation inspired his mates to create a marathon lawn bowling fundraiser, now, in 2023 that’s grown into the Dennis Gleeson MND Superchallenge.

It’s a unique triples bowls tournament, huge raffle and more.

Friend and event co-organiser Peter Cunningham said even though Mr Gleeson passed away in 2018, he’s dearly missed and his memory is still alive.

“It left a huge hole,” he said.

“He was just one of those guys you just felt comfortable around. You just couldn’t help laughing when you sat down with him.”

When spending time with their mate after his diagnosis and thinking about what could be done to support him, Mr Cunningham and others came up with an idea around Mr Gleeson’s love of footy.

“He was, as they all are really, a mad Collingwood supporter,” Mr Cunningham said.

“Back in 2016 I wrote a letter to Eddie McGuire asking for a jumper. We said we’re not going to raffle, it, we’re not going to auction it, this is purely to give something to Dennis.

“They sent a jumper out signed by the whole squad.

“By this stage Dennis couldn’t talk, so myself and mate Brian Taylor went around and presented him with the jumper.

“You could just see it in his eyes.”

Dennis Gleeson was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2015, that inspired his mates to help him, and others, affected by MND.

That simple act of sharing something with a mate has inspired another element to the Dennis Gleeson MND Superchallenge, a fundraising auction including a Collingwood jumper.

Also as part of the day the triples bowls comp will feature a two-four-two rolling sequence, with the positions of skip, lead and rotating each end.

The raffle will be drawn on the day and include prizes like bikes, tools, a barbecue, and meat vouchers.

They have been supplied with the help of local and Bendigo businesses like Giant Bikes, Todd Property, Total Tools, and McIvor Meats.

The Dennis Gleeson MND Superchallenge is set for this Australia Day, 26 January at the Heathcote Bowling Club.

Raffle tickets can be purchased now for $5 each at Fodder, the Oval Café or by calling 0418 304 259.

Money raised goes to MND Victoria to support people affected by motor neurone disease.