South-west residents Jackie Smith and Sarah Dunn know firsthand the devastation that Motor Neurone Disease (MND) brings upon a family and are urging the community to raise money to help find a cure.
The FightMND ambassadors said research to find better treatments for the disease was critical and buying The Big Freeze 7 beanie was one way people could help.
Mrs Smith's husband Stuart tragically died from MND in 2019.
"My late husband Stuart and I were GPs in Warrnambool for over 40 years and had both cared for patients with MND, so we knew what a devastating disease this is," she said.
"Less than a year after retiring, the weakness in Stu's hand was diagnosed as MND. We were determined to keep our life as active and full as possible but his weakness progressed such that he needed daily care.
"MND has a huge effect on so many people. FightMND is just amazing in their fund-raising to enable research to find a cure for MND.
Mrs Smith said she greatly admired the awareness and fund-raising work of former AFL legend Neale Daniher who had been the instigator of The Big Freeze and face of the campaign, despite his ailing health.
"Being able to buy a beanie locally at Coles helps enormously in increasing awareness for MND, particularly in a community like Warrnambool," Mrs Smith said. "Please buy a beanie to help raise funds so that we can wipe out this beast of a disease."
An average of two Australians are diagnosed with MND every day while another two succumb to the disease.
"MND has impacted my life since my father's diagnosis in 2008," Ms Dunn said. "At the time I had never heard of MND and the cruelty it brings to a sufferer and their family.
"Unfortunately for Dad, his progression was quite rapid, and we lost him within eight weeks of his diagnosis.
"It is incredibly important that we continue to fight for a treatment and a cure for MND. The work FightMND and their army does each day brings families that have been affected by MND hope for the future. To watch someone you love lose their ability to complete everyday tasks is devastating.
"Please support the Big Freeze 7 campaign and purchase a beanie. All funds raised bring us closer to a cure."
Warrnambool shoppers have already contributed more than $30,000 to The Big Freeze over the years.
Beanies can be purchased from Coles Supermarkets and Coles Express petrol stations, Bunnings and online at FightMND.org.au for $20 with sale proceeds to going to the cause.
Coles will also donate 10 cents from the sale of each pack of Coles Brand fresh pork to MND until June 22.
Last year's Big Freeze 6 campaign was Coles' single biggest fund-raising event ever, with more than $5.2 million being raised in the supermarket aisle, helping FightMND reach a record total funds raised for the campaign of $11.9 million.
Bec Daniher, FightMND's campaign director and daughter of AFL legend Neale Daniher, said the funds would be important to support research into finding effective treatments and a cure for MND
"This year we are asking everyone to buy a beanie again and become part of Neale's 'Play on' message," she said. "We know the 'beast' is landing a few blows and while Neale is punching back, we need the Australian community to continue to join our FightMND Army."
IN OTHER NEWS
- Airbnb rate hike plan sparks backlash
- Explainer: What are the new rules in regional Victoria
- Jellicle cats come out to play in south-west production of world famous musical
- Rate plea to council: 'give us a break'
- Gridlock on the grid stalls wind projects
- Des Keane reflects on Koroit's memorable 1971 premiership win
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content