Beaconsfield takes the plunge against MND

Some notable faces attended the big night, with - from left to right - Charlie Curnow at second to left, Bianca Chatfield under the net, Berwick MP Brad Battin third from right and Changkuoth 'CJ' Jiath at the right most. Picture: SUPPLIED.

By Ethan Benedicto

Over 1000 attendees braved the cold on the night of Thursday 6 June to attend Beaconsfield Junior Football Club’s Big Freeze event at Holm Park Reserve, raising over $31,000 with more expected in the coming weeks.

Representatives from the Junior Club, the Beaconsfield Netball Club, the Senior Club and the Super Rules all took part in plunging into the chilling challenge, donned in costumes such as a Ken doll, Toy Story characters, varied superheroes, the Pink Panther and more.

President of the junior football club, Kym-Maree Ingram expressed her gratitude for the community’s support, saying that “the way the community comes together for this event is truly inspiring”.

“Each and every year, we are so very grateful for the fundraising efforts of the community, the generosity of local businesses and the volunteers who dedicate hours to making this happen,” she said.

The night’s guest of honour was Ben Daniher, the son of Neale Daniher, of which the latter has been battling motor neurone disease (MND) since 2013.

Providing an update on his father’s journey, Ben Daniher spoke on the ongoing efforts of FightMND to raise $3 million by the King’s Birthday on 10 June, where he expressed his gratitude and thanked the local community for their support.

Ms Ingram also extended thanks to the events’ sponsors such as Berwick Toyota, saying “we would like to thank First National Real Estate, Snap Fitness and Middle Ground Café, along with our major sponsors District 14, DooGood, Polyflor and Beaconsfield Mitre 10 for their ongoing support”.

Fan favourite AFL stars Changkuoth ‘CJ’ Jiath from Hawthorn and Charlie Curnow from Carlton also returned, as well as Australian champion netballer Bianca Chatfield – all three rousing the crowd and signing autographs throughout the night.

Berwick MP Brad Battin also attended the event, donning a Mr Incredible costume before taking the icy plunge.

Mr Battin said that congratulations were in order for the junior football club “in their efforts to raise so much money and awareness to the FightMND campaign [and] to have Ben Daniher, son of Neale at the event made it a very special evening”.

“Big names always bring a crowd, and we can’t thank AFL stars Charlie Curnow, Changkouth (CJ) Jiath and everyone’s favourite former Diamond, now commentator, Bianca Chatfield,” he said.

The event also had a variety of food trucks in attendance, a sausage sizzle and donuts, ensuring that there was something for everyone.

Other sponsors for the event included Race Day Medical, AHiring, Beaconsfield Dominos, Beaconsfield Fire Brigade, Construction Training Group in Rowville and Better Rental Pakenham which provided generators for the event.

For Mr Battin, “every cent raised makes a difference”.

“To see our communities come together on a cold night to support this amazing event is the very reason I love being involved in sports clubs like Beacy,” he said.