Tennis legend Ash Barty was one of several celebrities on hand at the MCG on Monday, sliding into a pool of icy water to help raise awareness for Motor Neurone Disease.
Barty was joined by Eddie Betts, Rhonda Burchmore, Andy Maher, Jakara Anthony, Hamish Blake, Terry Daniher, Justin Langer, David Neitz, Bec Maddern, each in various costumes in front of a bumper crowd ahead of Collingwood’s game against Melbourne.
It was the eighth iteration of The Big Freeze, first taking place in 2014 – a brainchild of the FightMND charity, which was co-founded by AFL legend Neale Daniher, who continues to fight the disease.
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“This is an incredible day, an incredible cause, and I’m so proud to be a small part of a celebration that is just bringing awareness to an incredible man,” Barty said.
“Neale is just brilliant and I’m so glad I can be a part of it.”
Dressed as Rafiki from The Lion King and with a toy Simba in hand, Barty took the plunge down the slide and into the water below.
“I hoped I performed a little bit better on the tennis court, but this is just the most beautiful day for the right reasons,” she said, while still soaking wet.
FightMND is aiming to reach $2 million in donations by half time of Monday’s clash – and it ticked over that milestone during the second quarter.
“It’s hard to think of a more inspiring person than Neale Daniher,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement, with the government donating $250,000.
“The work he has done for others when faced with a devastating diagnosis is truly remarkable.
“We’re proud to support Neale’s fight. Every day it brings us closer to finding a cure to this terrible disease.”
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