MELBOURNE icon and media heavyweight Garry Lyon has raised $10,000 for the privilege of diving into a large bucket of ice in front of an expected crowd of 60,000 at the MCG on Monday afternoon before the Melbourne-Collingwood clash.
So too have the likes of Tim Watson, Luke Darcy, Dermott Brereton, Brian Taylor and other media and football identities.
With the temperature expected to be somewhere in the mid-teens and a few showers likely, it will not be the most pleasurable of experiences. But when Neale Daniher is the reason for the dive, there won’t be any complaints.
Daniher, the former Essendon star who later coached Melbourne, is the public face of the Freeze MND campaign. Daniher was diagnosed with the terminal Motor Neurone Disease in 2013 and earlier this year joined the Cure For MND Foundation as vice-president, while also becoming the foundation’s official patron
Since then he has worked relentlessly to raise awareness of the disease among the football and broader communities.
He recently addressed Melbourne players in what was his first time back at the club for eight years. He coached the Demons in 223 games, from 1998-2007, including the 2000 Grand Final.
"It was great to be back there because Melbourne Football Club was a big part of my life," he said.
But he'd rather not have to hit the hustings at all.
"It's not something I enjoy. I would prefer not to have MND because it's a terminal illness," he said.
"I have a sense of obligation and a sense of duty while I have a voice," he said, referring to the time eventually, like all those afflicted with MND, he will be paralysed and unable to speak.
Daniher also hopes his voice will lead to an increase in the levels of research funding into MND. Currently just two per cent of the money spent on medical research is directed towards the disease.
"It is woefully underfunded," he said. "While it remains at this level the beast of the disease will continue to flourish."
Daniher is overjoyed with the level of support from members of the football community.
"We weren’t quite sure how it would go but once all the broadcasters decided to support it, we have really lifted the profile and broadened the awareness of the disease."
And it has been a truly ecumenical effort with pretty much every major broadcaster and media outlet lending support. Daniher identified journalist Samantha Lane for being a good sport and agreeing to take part on Monday, alongside the male football types.
Those involved raised $10,000, and then challenged someone else to raise the next $10,000.
By Friday, more than $1.1 million had been raised, exceeding the original target.
"If this becomes an annual event then that's great, but I dream of the day it no longer exists because we'll have found a cure," he said.
To find out more or to make a donation, go to freezemnd.com