This weekend Sunday Night has two stories for us to view.
The footy hero. The tennis champ. The nurse. They’re three extraordinary people all determined to play their part to defeat an insidious, killer disease that claims two Australians every day. Motor Neurone Disease. Footy fans know Neale Daniher as AFL royalty. He was a champion player and has forged an enduring career as coach and a behind-the-scenes figure at a number of AFL clubs. But he’s also become one of the fiercest campaigners for research into a disease without a cure. Neale was diagnosed with MND in 2013 and wasted no time putting the energy he displayed on the footy field into fighting to find a cure. Alongside Neale is former tennis pro Ange Cunningham, who has been stricken by the disease as well. Despite it leaving her trapped in an immobile body, she still summons an amazing resolve to get on with what remains of her life with humour, love and a complete absence of self-pity. Joining Neale and Ange on the frontline in the battle to beat MND is Cath Baker, a former intensive care nurse who’s been caring for Ange. Together they share a resolve to help researchers uncover the cause of MND and find a cure. Neale’s defying the odds, living longer than he should and using that precious time to help unlock the secrets behind MND. For the past month, Sunday Night has been welcomed into the Daniher family’s day-to-day life and inside the world of Ange Cunningham and her family. We found two amazing people who have no time for sadness, whose families celebrate every new day and whose approach to MND is uplifting and inspirational. We were also there for the day Neale feared he’d never live to see – the marriage of his eldest daughter. As Sunday Night’s Melissa Doyle discovered, Neale Daniher is making sure the final quarter of his life will be his finest. As he encounters sufferers across Australia he gives them a hug and encourages them and their loved ones to Play On. But as we’ll discover in this very special Sunday Night report, a cruel disease has a cruel twist in store.
MAN AT WORK
It became the raucous, cocky theme song for one of Australia’s greatest ever sporting achievements and a people’s choice national anthem that was heard loud and proud around the world. By the time Down Under was blaring out as the battle song for Australia’s America’s Cup challenge at Newport, Rhode Island in 1983, it had already dominated international charts and made a band called Men at Work one of our biggest global acts. Down Under was the first of a string of hits. The Men won a coveted Grammy award, and sold millions of albums. Now, 35 years after Down Under’s release, founding member and lead singer Colin Hay looks back at the heady highs and heartbreaking lows of an epic musical journey. Sunday Night hits the road with Colin in the US where there’s still great affection for him, his old band and their music. In a brutally frank and deeply personal interview, Hay talks about life on the road, the legal stoush over their biggest hit and the loss of close friend Greg Ham, who he says he still thinks about every day. He’s funny, heartfelt and unflinchingly honest.
8:50 PM Sunday on Seven