Rock Off MND 2018, Peter

Rock Off MND is next Saturday January 20th at Deakin Waterfront. ‘I lost my beautiful wife, Jenny Simko, 55, to the cruel and indiscriminate Motor Neurone Disease (MND). Jen was diagnosed in August 2014 and Rock Off MND was her idea and inspiration.’ I’m talking to Peter Simko. ‘The aim of Rock Off MND is to raise awareness and much needed funds that will go into research of this dreadful disease. This is our fourth event.

GT MND ‘There will be three performances at Rock Off MND 2018 in the attractive outdoor courtyard at Deakin Waterfront on Saturday 20th January. This year we are thrilled to feature Kate Ceberano, Woodlock and Madhouse. We hope you can come along.

‘MND is a progressive terminal neurological disease in which the nerve cells or neurons that control the muscles that enable us to move, speak, swallow and breathe slowly degenerate and eventually stop functioning.

‘Jen was at the first event in March 2015 and she gave an incredibly moving and memorable speech. We have raised over $380,000 and funded five Jenny Simko MND Research Grants.  All money raised goes to MND Victoria.

‘Last year, we once again raised enough money for two Jenny Simko MND Research Grants which were awarded to the University of Melbourne, and the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne for research through 2018.

‘Without research we won’t find a cure. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to some amazing research Neurologists who have explained that MND is a very complex disease. Nevertheless, they are determined to try to find the cause and, ultimately, a cure.

‘To run Rock Off MND we have a committee, made up of myself, my three children and three friends, each bringing our own complementary skill-set. We also have an amazing team of volunteers that spend many hours selling raffle tickets, they’re an incredible group of very generous people. For the past three events Rex Gorell has also kindly donated a car for the raffle and provided great support.

‘Jen and I both went to Roslyn Primary School, then on to Belmont High. It was in Form 5, at 16 years old, that we started going out. Seven years later we married and were very happily married for nearly 32 years. We have three wonderful children.

‘We had a fun and interesting life together working and living overseas and interstate. We decided to return to Geelong to be close to our families and because it is a great place to raise children.

‘Jen was part of the Dignity Therapy program run by Barwon Health (read our story about this posted Oct 1st 2016) and we were very appreciative of that, it’s an incredible service run by some amazing people.

‘People couldn’t believe Jen’s positivity, she never let the disease get her down. She was always thinking of others and worried about the affect this had on them. I’ve now met a number of people from Geelong who have MND and I can’t believe their fighting spirit, resilience and positivity in the face of the challenges MND brings.’

This photo of Jenn and the Simko family was taken in 2015 before the first Rock Off MND.