NDNA 2024: Netballers take the plunge in Big Freeze to raise thousands in fight against motor neurone disease

Catherine ThorntonNarrogin Observer
Catherine Thornton, Marie King and Hope Hayes take part in the Big Freeze.
Camera IconCatherine Thornton, Marie King and Hope Hayes take part in the Big Freeze. Credit: Julie-Anne Grout

Narrogin and Districts Netball Association held its first ever Big Freeze round on Saturday to help raise funds to help find a cure for motor neurone disease.

The event was held in line with Netball WA’s Big Freeze Community Round, and was in conjunction with the 10th Anniversary of the first AFL’s Big Freeze event held at the MCG during the King’s birthday fixture.

The local event paid homage to the AFL version, and was filled with ice, costumes and lots of laughs for the cause.

With no known cause or cure, MND, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, claims two Australian lives every day, often within 27 months of the sufferer’s diagnosis.

It affects the motor cortex of the brain, attacking cells and deteriorating the sufferer’s nervous system.

With no residual muscles or strength, patients are left motionless, mute, and trapped within their once active bodies.

Tanya Hart, Chloe Campbell, Catherine Thornton and Hope Hayes took part in the event.
Camera IconTanya Hart, Chloe Campbell, Catherine Thornton and Hope Hayes took part in the event. Credit: Julie-Anne Grout

In the majority, the mind and intellect are left intact, with the sufferer bearing witness to it all.

Four local netballers volunteered to take the icy plunge for the event, each citing a different reason for contributing to the cause.

Hope Hayes, 14, dressed as a fairy, and stated a family member suffered from a similar disease and wanted to help fundraise to find a cure.

Association vice-president Chloe Campbell paid tribute to the 30th anniversary of the film Sister Act 2, dressed as a nun and stated that she wanted to raise awareness and funds for the cause.

A1 player and local business owner Tanya Hart paid tribute to Fight MND founder Neale Daniher and dressed head to toe an Essendon AFL uniform, citing him as her inspiration for participating.

NDNA Big Freeze co-ordinator Catherine Thornton’s outfit choice was auctioned off online, with the winning $200 bid resulting in a Stormy Daniels costume, complete with a Donald Trump hand puppet thanks to Fil Shepherd and family.

Event MC Shammi Hardie had the 100-plus strong crowd counting down for ice-master Shane Thornton to pour the bucket over the challengers, as well as inspiring three impromptu challengers from the audience, along with cash donations for their participation.

These included local netballers Sian Kershaw from Olympics and 11-year-old Ashlynn Hardie from Waves.

The final challenger was local lady Marie King, whose personal account of nursing her husband for six years before his death from MND had the audience on the verge of tears.

Between the online donation link, collections on the day and sponsorship of the event, the NDNA was able to raise more than $3500 for the Fight MND Foundation, which will go towards funding medical research grants in search for a cure for the disease.

The NDNA would like to acknowledge the Shire of Narrogin who contributed a $500 donation to the cause and provided in-kind support for the event.

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