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COMMENTARY quips about Steve Moneghetti being at ease in Ballarat-like temperatures made the plunge fun, but ultimately this was about the cold hard facts.
More than $2 million was raised for motor neurone disease research in the third annual Big Freeze leading up to the Queen’s Birthday AFL clash between Melbourne and Collingwood.
Led by beloved AFL figure Neale Daniher, who is the public face for the degenerative disease, this was a fight for a cure to a condition from which two Australians die with each day.
Moneghetti declared it a “fantastic victory” when he emerged from a pool filled with three tonnes of ice blocks, learning the Fight MND tally had increased about $200,000 in the time he spent limbering up then taking the slide.
The Ballarat Olympic distance runner dressed up in a Cathy Freeman-style body suit, best known in her Sydney 2000 Olympic 400-metre gold medal win.
“I thought I’d channel a bit of Cathy Freeman because I want a bit of speed to get in and out of there quickly,” Moneghetti said at the top of the slide.
Nominated by Daniher, Moneghetti was the sixth Australian sporting legend to hit the water. Moneghetti’s nomination, basketballing hero Andrew Gaze, was the first in the ice blocks.
They were joined by Olympic aerial skier Alisa Camplin, former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, Olympic speed skater Steve Bradbury, Olympic pole vaulter Steve Hooker and former Australian Diamonds captain Sharelle McMahon.
Daniher hinted earlier in March he might add a chillier touch to Ballarat, in Big Freeze style, at some stage this year. Car rally Daniher’s Drive, also raising money for MND, will make its final stop in Ballarat in October because Daniher said he heard Ballarat was “the biggest party town in Victoria”.
He told The Courier awareness was pivotal because you could not ask people to support MND unless they knew about the disease.