NTI will auction ‘Black Beauty’. Photo by Sarah Keayes/The Photo Pitch

A restored 1946 Ford Jail Bar truck donated by NTI has been auctioned off with the support of the Australian TruckingAssociation, resulting in a cheque for $200,000 being presented to Motor Neurone Disease (MND) researchers.

More than $87,000 was raised at auction and Australia’s largest transport and logistics specialist, NTI added another $113,000to support researchers as they to continue exploring ways to treat the disease. It brings the total NTI has raised for MNDresearch to almost $534,000 in four years.

The cheque was handed over at MND and Me’s Christmas event in Brisbane where medical experts pitched their research ideas in a ‘Shark Tank’ style presentation.

NTI’s donation will fund two research grants for Dr Shu Ngo and Dr Adam Walker at The University of Queensland. Dr Ngo wasalso named the recipient of the 2021 Charcot Award which is presented to the highest ranked innovator grant applicant.

“Everyone is driven to see a world free of MND and funding from the NTI research grant gives young researchers anopportunity to push harder and go further with their ideas. That will be so valuable to finding a cure for MND and I feel humbled and privileged to be able to carry out this research,” Dr Ngo said.

“With these funds, we will be embarking on a research project that is the first of its kind for MND. Using mini 3D spinal cordsthat we have generated from MND patient skin cells, we will study how neurons and their support cells interact over time togive us insights into how we can save neurons.”

MND and Me CEO Jane Milne said Motor Neurone Disease claims the lives of two Australians every day.

“There are currently more than 2,100 Australians living with MND and the disease can affect adults of any age,” Ms Milnesaid.

“The commitment NTI has shown to funding MND research is unique in Australia and means researchers can continue theirwork to find a cure or effective treatment for MND. These two grants have been awarded to researchers who are in theprocess of moving to clinical trials and are finding promise in treatments in mouse models, or who are working towards abetter understanding of the cause of MND.”

NTI CEO Tony Clark said “Black Beauty” was the third truck NTI had restored since 2016 to fundraise for MND research. Therestoration was undertaken with the help of transport industry partners.

“NTI is committed to supporting MND research in honour of our late CEO Wayne Patterson who was diagnosed with thecondition in 2015 and tragically lost his battle soon after,” Mr Clark said.

“This research grant is about supporting research but also promoting awareness of MND, of which two Australians arediagnosed every day. NTI will continue its support of this incredibly worthy cause and has plans to restore another truck in2021.”