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MND Ball continues legacy of former Benalla resident

A ball for motor neurone disease raised further funds in memory of former Benalla resident and MND sufferer Mick Rodger.

MONIQUE FREER June 27, 2014 3:19am

Motor neurone disease ball in Melbourne initiated by friends of Mick Rodger who died of MND in 2010. Pictured are his widow Robyn Smith, children Martine, Georgia and Dene Rodger and the Martyn, Whitcroft/Allen and DeCrespigny families.


The legacy of former Benalla resident Mick Rodger is living on with more than $600000 raised for motor neurone disease research in his name.

On Saturday, June 14 more than 20 Benalla residents travelled to Melbourne for the seventh annual MND Ball to raise money for the cause.

Among those were Mr Rodger’s widow Robyn Smith and children Dene, Georgia and Martine Rodger.

‘‘It is so humbling to have so many people still care and help fight MND,’’ Ms Smith said.

‘‘His three children ... and Mick’s mother, who lost her husband and other son to the insidious disease, are able to feel pride that a positive legacy is being created in his name.’’

MND is the name given to a group of diseases in which the nerve cells controlling the muscles progressively fail to work normally, affecting movement, speaking, swallowing and breathing.

Cobram-born Mr Rodger was diagnosed with the disease in 2008, and died in March 2010.

The ball is one of two major fundraising events each year; the annual Benalla Act to d-Feet MND event raised about $30000 and attracted 1000 participants this year.

Four Benalla families were among the 400 attendees at the ball earlier this month, held at The Club in Albert Park.

‘‘Our Benalla friends have been awesome in their support of the ball, particularly the Whitcroft/Allen, de Crespigny and Martyn families,’’ Ms Smith said.

‘‘It has become an annual ritual.’’

All money raised goes to MND research and a grant in Mick Rodger’s name.

The Ensign reported last year that Mick Rodger Benalla MND Research Grant recipient Bradley Turner and his lab at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health’s Parkville facility had identified a defective gene in MND lab models, and were investigating the use of gene therapy to target the gene.

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