Danihers ride bumps, hit back

When Luke and Ben Daniher learnt their father's diagnosis last year, they did not know what motor neurone disease was.

They knew it was serious because their parents sat them down to deliver the news but like many people, they were not familiar with the terminal illness that kills one Australian every 12 hours.

As always, the Daniher brothers looked to their famous father Neale, 53, for leadership.

"When we found out, I think I said, 'I don't actually know what that is'," Ben, 20, said.

"We'd probably be lying if we said we weren't bothered by it but Dad really sets the example.

"He was a bit unlucky with his knees during his footy career as well but he just takes the hits and gets on with it.

"I've noticed no change in the way he goes about things."

The average life expectancy after diagnosis is 27 months. But for now, Neale still humbles his sons on the golf course every other weekend.

In recent months, Luke and Ben have joined their father in raising money and awareness for the MND Association of WA.

They have collected almost $18,000 through Get on Beard, an initiative a teammate of Ben's at Claremont Football Club started.

"I knew Dad had it at that point, so I thought, 'Why not do our bit to help'," Ben said.

"I needed to make sure Luke was on board because he's the one who can actually grow a good beard."

The brothers will shave on September 1 after the Get on Beard gala dinner at the Melbourne Hotel next Sunday.

Their fundraising efforts have coincided with an unprecedented global MND campaign called the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

MND is also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

The social media-driven campaign started in the US last month and has gone viral, raising an extraordinary amount of awareness and money.

The US ALS Association reportedly took $41.8 million in donations from July 29 to August 21.

Everyone from George W. Bush to Justin Bieber has taken the challenge before nominating high-profile friends.

In WA, Premier Colin Barnett, Formula 1 ace Daniel Ricciardo and the entire West Coast Eagles playing list have got in on the act.

MNDAWA executive officer Fionnula Franey said the campaign generated a level of awareness the MND community had only dreamed about.

"We've had about $25,000 this week when normally you might get a couple of hundred or maybe a thousand," she said. "The impact of it is phenomenal and people with MND are feeling like they're getting so much support."

Luke said it was brilliant to see so many people learning about MND. "Hopefully people keep digging deep and they can find a cure," he said.

Visit www.getonbeard.com

'He was a bit unlucky with his footy career but he takes the hits and gets on with it.'" *Ben Daniher *, whose father Neale has terminal MND

The West Australian

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