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Neale Daniher Wins The Outstanding Contribution to Victorian Sport Award

Neale Daniher, founder of The Big Freeze, has won one of the most prestigious sporting awards in the state: The Outstanding Contribution to Victorian Sport Award

Neale Daniel is the founder of the Big Freeze and has received one of the highest sporting honors in the state, the Outstanding Contribution to Victorian Sport Award.

Daniher, a former player of Essendon Football Club and later a coach for Melbourne Football Club has dedicated his life since his diagnosis in 2013 to educating Australians on motor neurone diseases.

Since co-founding Fight MND, in 2014, he has raised more than $50,000,000 for research into treatment.

The previous winners of this award include Tour de France winner Cadel Evan, and Olympian Cathy Freeman.

Neale Daniel, football legend and tireless FightMND activist, has been awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Victorian Sport Award for 2022.

The Outstanding Contribution to Victorian Sport Award, the most prestigious award at the Victorian Sport Awards is given to an individual, group, or organisation for their outstanding contribution to sport in Victoria.

Neale, who was diagnosed with motor-neuron disease (MND), in 2013, and went public the year afterward, has dedicated his entire life to raising awareness about the disease among Australians and to raise money to fund research for the treatment and eventual cure of MND.

Neale’s determination to face MND challenges with humor and courage has inspired an entire nation. He also dedicates himself to helping those suffering from MND and future diagnoses.

Neale, his three brothers Terry, Anthony, and Chris, who are all famous footballers, played 752 games together during their career, which is the second-most by any set of siblings. In 1990, the foursome made history when they were the first set of siblings to play together in a VFL/AFL match.

Neale took over the Melbourne head coaching reins in 1998. He held the position for 10 years, including a Grand Final appearance in 2000.

In 2007, after 223 games with the Demons, his tenure at the club came to an abrupt end. Neale finished his coaching career by serving as the General Manager of Football Operation at the West Coast Eagles for five years. However, he was forced to step down due to ill health.

Neale co-founded FightMND with the organization in 2014. Since then, they have raised more than $50 million from donations, merchandise sales, and national events.

The FightMND 27 Challenge encourages Australians set fitness goals involving 27 (recognising that the average life expectancy for a MND patient is 27 months) and Daniher’s Drive, a four-day drive around regional Victoria.

Neale Daniher is the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to Victorian Sport Award for 2022.

Neale Daniel said that it was a great honour to be included amongst the greats of sports in this state, such as my old friend Sheeds Dees Jim Stynes.

“I think sport owes more to me than I do it, because it has played a major role in my life ever since I was an adolescent and given me so many wonderful life experiences.”

He said: ‘In a lot of ways, I and my family feel that we have received more from sport than we’ve contributed. But I appreciate this award, and I thank the State Government of Victoria, and Vicsport, for the honor.’

The Victorian Sport Awards, presented by the Victorian Government, Vicsport and the Victorian Sport Community, will take place this year, on Wednesday, 7th June 2023, at the Victory Room of the Marvel Stadium.

The award recognizes the contributions of athletes, coaches and administrators, as well as volunteers, to sport and active recreation in Victoria.

Neale Bec Daniher

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