opinion

Harry Taylor: Get out to Nabawa and don MND beanie this weekend to support worthy cause

Harry TaylorGeraldton Guardian
Nick Riewoldt (left), dressed as Freddie Mercury, and Neale Daniher are seen on the Freeze MND slide in 2019.
Camera IconNick Riewoldt (left), dressed as Freddie Mercury, and Neale Daniher are seen on the Freeze MND slide in 2019. Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

One of the great things about sport is the opportunity it provides to raise awareness about issues that affect our society.

A message can be spread across the canvas that incorporates all the supporters, players, officials and members of a particular sport.

The AFL advocates for certain causes exceptionally well. Last week’s Indigenous Round is one such example of how the AFL helps champion specific messages. As an AFL player, I understood part of the job involved helping my sport positively influence our communities.

We would do a mandatory 25 hours of community service across the season, with visits to schools, hospitals and groups in need.

Most players did far more hours than this.

At Geelong we asked our players to undertake such service with the same energy and endeavour that we would ask when playing on the weekend. You represented the jumper with passion and effort regardless of the environment you were in and for no other reason other than because it was the right thing to do.

Eddie McGuire goes down the Freeze MND slide in 2016.
Camera IconEddie McGuire goes down the Freeze MND slide in 2016. Credit: Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images

Some of the issues we as AFL players were advocating for weren’t always popular.

Change can be scary for some.

The status quo is the comfortable choice.

The option to hide in the shadows or poke you head in the sand is the simple one.

It is more difficult to stand up for what you believe in.

Living in the breakers is difficult and uncomfortable, but it’s necessary to get through them if you want to reach the clearer waters beyond.

Moving forward doesn’t happen without acknowledgement first.

This week, the AFL and Great Northern Football League will be championing the fight against motor neurone disease.

It’s a debilitating disease that affects the nerves that supply the muscles that help us talk, breathe and move.

Three pretty important aspects of living a happy and fulfilling life.

Every day, two Australians are diagnosed with MND, and two die from the disease.

Average life expectancy ranges between two and three years.

Eagles coach Adam Simpson goes down the Freeze MND slide in 2018.
Camera IconEagles coach Adam Simpson goes down the Freeze MND slide in 2018. Credit: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

The causes of MND are relatively unknown, and that’s why raising awareness and funds to support MND research is so vital.

The Big Freeze concept that has become synonymous with MND sees people brave a slide down into freezing water — short-term discomfort to help support MND sufferers who face constant struggle and uncertainty in their lives. No effective treatment, no known cure.

Victims become trapped within their own body, their mind incapable of telling their arms and legs to move like they once did.

MND doesn’t discriminate as to who and when it strikes.

Any one of us could be affected at some point.

At Nabawa Oval this weekend, a host of locals will be braving icy water to do their bit in the fight against MND.

The costumes should be interesting! To do your bit, I would recommend grabbing an MND beanie this week.

All proceeds go directly to finding a cure and improving treatment for MND.

It’s a good cause, and if you’ve been outside this week you would be aware that we could all probably do with a beanie.

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