Daniel Ricciardo’s Aston Martin to boost Murdoch-based MND research

March 21, 2018

Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo to donate funds to Murdoch-based research into Motor Neuron Disease

WA-raised Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo will personally auction off his special edition Red Bull Aston Martin Roadster tomorrow evening ahead of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

Funds raised (above the reserve value) from the auction will be poured into the search for a treatment for Motor Neuron Disease (MND), with the proceeds earmarked for Murdoch’s Centre for Comparative Genomics.

Mr Ricciardo’s special edition Aston Martin is estimated to be worth more than $300,000. The Racing for MNDi Foundation, of which he is a patron, is a charity close to his heart.

Founder and President Assunta Meleca has lost five family members to Motor Neuron Disease, including her grandparents, her father, her uncle and her 47-year old cousin.

“When I was asked by Assunta to be patron of Racing for MNDi Foundation, I didn’t hesitate,” Mr Ricciardo said. “It’s an illness close to my heart, with many of my friends and family members being affected. This is my chance to give back, and hopefully the funds raised can bring us closer to finding a cure.”

The Red Bull Racing special edition car – a V8 Vantage S Roaster – is one of just 17 of its kind in Australia. The tungsten silver vehicle, which is expected to appeal to collectors, has a seven-speed motor and features the F1 driver’s signature.

The foundation has been working closely with Murdoch’s Centre for Comparative Genomics (CCG) to develop a cure or a treatment to slow the progress of the disease that can devastate families.

Motor Neuron Disease (MND) is a progressive, degenerative disorder of motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain. It results in weakness and the wasting of muscles, causing the person to lose the ability to communicate, while their mind and senses usually remain intact: eventually becoming trapped within their own body. The average life expectancy is 2.5 years after diagnosis.

MND affects people of all ages and there is no treatment available. It affects more than 2000 Australians, with two people diagnosed every day.  An estimated 58 per cent of people with MND are under the age of 65.

Since 2017, the Racing for MNDi Foundation donated $185,000 to Murdoch’s the Centre for Comparative Genomics to conduct research into inherited forms of MND. The MND research project has received a further $148, 000 in donations.

Professor Sue Fletcher, researcher at the Centre for Comparative Genomics, said the CCG team was extracting patient DNA and tissue samples from family members of those who have been affected by MND for future analysis.

“We are very privileged to have the support of MNDi and patron Daniel Riccardo that is enabling us to explore novel approaches and collaborations to fight this insidious and terribly unfair disease,” Prof. Fletcher said.

With the support from MNDi Foundation, a national registry has been developed at Murdoch’s Centre for Comparative Genomics and will underpin MND research. An experimental design to sequence and analyse 39 genes known to be associated with MND has also been devised.

Potential bidders for the Aston Martin will need to register for the March 22 auction. For further information, to view the car, or to register to bid, contact Kristian Dewsnap on (03) 8866 3111.

Daniel Ricciardo's tungsten silver V8 Vantage S Aston Martin that is up for auction in Melbourne






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Media contact: Connie Clarke
Tel: (08) 9360 2734  |  Mobile: 0424 287 361  |  Email: connie.clarke@murdoch.edu.au
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