Until there's a cure ... there's care

Lady in high vis vest smilingThank you Marian Lowe for your hard work and dedication over 28 years as a MND Victoria volunteer!

Marian writes, "From Cakes to Kokoda ... Fundraising—it’s the ‘f’ word that is a constant in the vocabulary of organisations such as ours.

As I step back from my role as a volunteer in the fundraising area, I’ve been thinking of all the past efforts that have helped make the Association so successful.

In 1990 when I first became involved with the MN Society as it was then, the need for funds was critical. Volunteers stood at strategic places during MND week shaking cans and answering the common question –“What is MND? Can you get it from driving a car?” Support groups would hold stalls, raffles and trivia nights, the Gippsland group was famous for its Soup and Sandwich day, and a member of the Outer Eastern Group ran a ‘tattslotto’ every month for years using the supplementary numbers. There was a sock drive, open gardens, lunches and dinners, and one of my favourites – a no effort fundraiser where people were asked to donate a sum of money in lieu of baking a cake, manning a stall etc.

Then of course there were Christmas card sales which brought in 1000’s of dollars in the early days, as did the annual fete where you had to get in early for the homemade apricot jam and lemon butter! We selected wines that were bottled with a MND label and took orders from around the State.

One enterprising member started collecting corks, this soon ballooned out into the “Equipment, it’s a Corker!’ programme. At its height there was a team of volunteers who regularly sorted out the wires, caps and occasionally money, which came with the bags of corks. It was also a great way of promoting the Association. Local Rotary and other community groups got involved, I think the idea of buying a wheelchair from sales of corks appealed to people. We even had corks sent over from a winery in South Australia. Sadly it came to an end when the firm who bought the corks for recycling decided it was easier and cheaper for them to purchase overseas.

Hundreds of boxes of cornflowers were made up for MND week and distributed to support groups and members. My own group would distribute around 200 boxes in Knox City shopping centre the week before and collect them the week after. This finally came to an end when shops changed to having miniscule counters.

With Judith Durham’s influence, we collected donations in buckets at the end of Seekers concerts. Judith would talk about MND and the Association before the last song, and the generosity of the audience as they left was overwhelming. The ice bucket challenge caught the imagination of the public and ricocheted around the world.

The bequest programme was set up in the 1990’s along with the MND Care Foundation to provide financial security for the Association. Walk to D'feet MND started in Melbourne, but quickly took off in different regions of Victoria and interstate. Not only do the Walks raise significant funds, but bring together the MND community in relaxed and friendly atmospheres. It is always a challenge to think up something new and recently extreme events have answered that. Walking on the Great Wall of China, battling the Kokoda Track and now trekking the Larapinta, appeal to the young and the fit who must raise significant sponsorship money as one of the conditions of registration.

There are many other ways, too many to mention here, that members and supporters have employed to bring in funds. But from ‘cakes to Kokoda’ every cent is a valued contribution to the care of people living with MND and to the research that will one day find a cure. 

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As I step back from my role as a volunteer in the fundraising area, I’ve been thinking of all the past efforts that have helped make the Association so successful.


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A poem written by one of our volunteers about her experience of motor neurone disease ...

"It’s the understanding, knowing that when I phone you, MND Victoria always understands ...
I remember the first time I ever heard the words “Motor Neurone Disease”.
On March 28 this year my partner of 21 years died in my arms. She was 54 years old when diagnosed in June 2016
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My husband dances with me, but not as often as he used too, and he doesn’t like the fast songs.
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