The little high tea event that could: Geraldton charity raises thousands for motor neurone disease research

Geraldton Guardian
Barbara Salmond and Nancy Nealson enjoy a chat over tea.
Camera IconBarbara Salmond and Nancy Nealson enjoy a chat over tea. Credit: Tamra Carr

It’s had a stop-start history in Geraldton, but the ladies behind a 20-year motor neurone disease fundraiser have their fingers crossed that the annual event is now here to stay.

High Tea for MND, a fun rhyme cooked up by co-ordinator Vanessa Heinrich, is designed to raise awareness and money to support people with the nervous system disease.

Ms Heinrich, along with her aunt Kath Millward and close friend Dahnie Smart, started the charity in 1995, a year after Ms Millward’s mother, and Ms Heinrich’s grandmother, died of MND.

Remembering Ms Millward’s brother, who also died from the disease, Ms Heinrich said it was easily decided to throw themselves behind the search for a cure and better support for sufferers.

Vanessa Heinrich, Kath Millward and Dahnie Smart.
Camera IconVanessa Heinrich, Kath Millward and Dahnie Smart. Credit: Tamra Carr

“A lot of people within the community also have MND, and a lot of people at our event have the disease too,” Ms Heinrich said.

“So, we support MNDAWA, (Motor Neurone Disease Association of WA) to keep the support within our communities.”

Recently, the three women hosted a high-tea fundraiser at Geraldton Yacht Club, the first event in a few years.

Ms Heinrich said the fundraiser had not run seamlessly throughout the last two decades due to illness, but she was hoping for a more permanent spot on charity calendars from now on.

About 120 guests attended High Tea for MND, raising $9000.

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