FightMND Co-founder and Patron Neale Daniher and the wider Daniher clan have launched the seventh version of the famous blue beanie, emblazoned with his 'PLAY ON' mantra, with record sales expected across the country to raise funds to fight this killer disease.

Daniher also delivered a call-to-arms for The FightMND army to take up the torch he has so proudly held aloft since his diagnosis in 2013.

Neale Daniher:

"Firstly, thanks to all that have been part of the fight against the beast called MND, but we are at a critical phase where we need more members of our army to step up, to lead us in this next stage of our fight and I’m hoping you are willing to take up that challenge," Daniher said. 
 
"FightMND. It Takes People. It will take me, it will take the two people diagnosed today, yesterday, and tomorrow. It will take their ability to move, speak, eat, swallow & breathe. And it will take an army of people to defeat this insidious disease.

"It is a killer, every single time – for now! We need the fight to continue and funding world leading MND research is the only way to get there.  I need people like you to take up the challenge in leading the fight against MND."

The popular beanies are available at your local Coles, Coles Express, www.coles.com.au or Bunnings - or via the FightMND website. Adult size beanies are still just $20, and we’ve also introduced a limited number of children’s beanies available on online - retailing at $17.50 each.

This year we’re bringing in two main themes for our Big Freeze campaign; ‘Play On’, and ‘V.I.B.’- or ‘Very Important Beanie’. Play On speaks to Neale’s response to his diagnosis, and is taken from the final words at the bottom of the message he sent to his family sharing the diagnosis. As Neale will be less prominent in the campaign, we want to share this messaging as a reminder to our Army that the fight is not yet over.

The V.I.B. is all about emphasising what our beanies actually represent - they’re more than just something to keep your head warm, they’re a crucial step in raising funds to find treatment, and one day a cure for Motor Neurone Disease. Everyone who buys one is making a tangible difference, and so they are themselves Very Important in their contribution to our fight.

Neale Daniher and Jack Viney of the Demons pose in front of a giant beanie at the Big Freeze 7 Official Launch. Picture: Getty Images

Fiona McIntosh, FightMND CEO:

"We are here today to launch what is not just a beanie, but a V.I.B. or “very important beanie” and the reason it’s so important is because MND is still a killer and remains a Beast of a disease," McIntosh said. 

"When we launched our first beanie seven years ago there was little hope for those diagnosed. We've achieved much but we still have a way to go.
 
"Thank you to our partners, it is through their support that we are really able to make a difference. Thank you to the media and to our Army who continue to stand with us as we march toward a cure to beat the beast that is MND.

"It takes people. It will take all we have got. We have the momentum and we will keep fighting. Please continue to fight with us."

Our commercial retail partners are an integral part of this campaign and we appreciate the national retail footprint they bring to our beanies, stocking them across the nation.

03:05 Mins
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MND is a beast: Neale Daniher's courageous, emotional 'fight for others'

Neale Daniher and family on MND and his incredible battle with the disease

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Greg Davis, Coles Group Chief Executive of Commercial and Express:

“It’s always so inspiring to see the Big Freeze beanies being worn with such pride across the country and we are delighted to be almost doubling the number of stores we are selling them in this year with our Coles Express team joining the fight against Motor Neurone Disease.”

“We’ll be encouraging our customers to buy Coles Brand Australian pork during the campaign because, for every pack purchased, we will donate 10 cents to FightMND to support research into finding effective treatments and a cure for this insidious disease.”
 
Michael Schneider, Bunnings Managing Director:
 
“Bunnings is excited to support the FightMND Big Freeze campaign for a third year running.  Our team love being part of the FightMND Army, donning the blue beanie to help raise awareness and funds to fight ‘The Beast’."

"This is a cause close to my heart and it’s always very humbling to see the Bunnings team and our customers come together to show their support to find a cure for this devastating disease”.
 
Big Freeze 7 sliders are still to be announced, so stay tuned.