Melburnian of the Year | Neale Daniher AM


Melburnian of the Year | Neale Daniher AM

2016 Melburnian of the Year

Neale Daniher AM is the Patron and Vice President for the Cure for MND Foundation.

Following his diagnoses with Motor Neurone Disease, he has been inspirational in selflessly dedicated himself to raising funds and awareness for the disease.

Melburnian of the Year


2016: Neale Daniher AM
Daniher is a former Australian rules footballer who played with the Essendon Football Club in the AFL between 1979 and 1990. He was the coach of the Melbourne Football Club between 1998 and 2007 and was an assistant coach for the Essendon and Fremantle Football Clubs.

His football career, although dogged by injury, was well respected with Daniher winning widespread praise and accolades for his actions both on and off the field.

These personal characteristics are what drive Daniher, and it is these values that are now echoed in his approach with his current battle with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

Diagnosed with MND in 2013, Daniher has used the ensuing time to raise awareness of the disease and funds for its research. In the past two years he has been actively involved in the ‘Freeze at the G’ MND event held at the MCG and raising millions of dollars for research. The community has been moved and impressed by Daniher’s courage in the face of his medical ordeal.

In early 2015, Daniher joined the Cure For MND Foundation as Vice-President, and has also signed on as the official Patron of the Foundation. Daniher’s ‘MO’ is, in short, 'It’s too late for me, so with the time I have left I need to do as much as I possibly can for those who will follow me.'

Initially hoping to raise $250,000 in his major fundraising initiative for Cure for MND with the inaugural Freeze at the G, Daniher delivered $3 million in 2015 and $6 million in 2016.

Another Cure MND initiative Daniher is involved in is Daniher’s Drive – a fun four-day road-trip extravaganza to raise much needed awareness and funds to find a cure for MND. In 2015 Daniher’s Drive raised $1.1 million, with the 2016 Drive held from 13 to 16 October and raising $1.26 million.

Daniher received a Member of the Order of Australia award in 2016 for his efforts in raising awareness of MND and raising funds to help find a cure for the disease. Daniher’s continued determination to live life to the fullest, and face the challenges this disease brings with courage, humour, and a drive to help prevent the suffering of those that may be diagnosed with this disease in the future, is inspiring.




Previous Melburnian of The Year


2015: Bryan Lipmann AM
Chief Executive Officer and founder of Wintringham Specialist Aged Care.

2014: Professor Sharon Lewin
Professor Lewin is an internationally renowned researcher in HIV cure and the inaugural Director of the Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.

2013: Major Brendan Nottle
He has become the face of our beloved Salvos, given them a higher profile and selflessly committed his life to help the downtrodden, especially Melbourne’s homeless people.

2012: Michael Gudinski
Born and raised in Melbourne, Michael Gudinski built his empire, including the Mushroom Group and Frontier Touring Company, in his hometown.

2011: Harold Mitchell
Prominent businessman and media buyer, for his contribution to Melbourne’s arts, health and education sectors.

2010: Jim Stynes
Melbourne Football Club president, for his tireless dedication to the welfare of Victoria's youth through his work with the Reach Foundation.

2009: Susan Barton
A founder of the Lighthouse Foundation, for supporting the youth of Melbourne.

2008: John Bertrand
A former America's Cup winning skipper, for his charity work.

2007: Lyn Swinburne
Breast cancer crusader and creator of the pink field of women events.

2006: Ron Barassi
AFL great, for inspiring others and his overall contribution to Melbourne.

2005: Andrew Gaze
A champion basketballer, inaugural Melburnian of the Year for his "outstanding contribution" and for "tirelessly giving back to both his sport and the wider community".



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