Record breaking ‘Daniher’s Drive’ stops in Heathcote

By Vanessa Wiltshire

IN a record-breaking tour, the fifth edition of FightMND's famous Daniher’s Drive stopped in Heathcote on Thursday for lunch.

An army of blue-clad drivers and their passengers were treated to wine tastings and a delicious buffet luncheon, co-ordinated by the Heathcote Winegrowers Association and the Heathcote Football Netball Club.

The Daniher Drive team also sampled wine from Mitchelton, Red Edge, Vinea Marson and Tellurian.

Organisers said the drive exceeded all expectations, smashing the targeted $10 million mark and pushed the fundraising total over the past five years to nearly $11m.

These vital funds will be aimed at treatment for sufferers and to find a cure for the disease.

FightMND chief executive Jamie Howden said the figure was "simply amazing".

“The grand total with all our sponsorships, teams' fundraising, and Victorian Government funding is a record for any year with $3.1m,” he said.

“It's amazing to think that five years ago this was just an idea — the grand total over the five-year period is a staggering $10.7m.”

Neale Daniher’s wife, Jan, was top fundraiser with over $100,000 raised for the drive. Main sponsor Chemist Warehouse handed over a team cheque for nearly $80,000, which was over and above their sponsorship.

FightMND campaign director Rebecca Daniher said she was excited to announce the record-breaking tally.

“We have to thank the state government, who kicked it off so well, but also the Australian public who have been massive supporters in our quest to find better treatment and a cure for MND,” she said.

"We love getting out to the regional communities, and they always welcome us with open arms — this funding is going to make a big impact in 'fighting the beast' — we are going to get it working as quickly as possible in medical research and clinical trials across Australia and worldwide."

More than 2000 people are currently diagnosed with MND in Australia and there is no known cure or treatment.

On the Australia Day weekend, Heathcote’s Never Give Up group raised $19,334 for MND Victoria and PanCare with a 24-hour bowls marathon, supported by Daniel and Stacey Woodrow and the Heathcote Bowls Club.