Skip to content

Silence on Maling Road

MND Victoria 2 mins read
Paul Merheb, owner of Chicken or the Egg Cafe with customer Jonathan Brown, former Australian rules footballer and radio presenter.

Maling Road, Canterbury will be very quiet tomorrow as several local businesses get involved with MND Victoria’s The Shut Up! For MND Challenge.


Local cafés Chicken or the Egg and The Good Food Collective have embraced the initiative, with the owners of both businesses taking on the challenge of not speaking for 6 hours to raise awareness and funds for motor neurone disease. Bennet’s Butcher are also involved in the event, supporting a local resident by running a sausage sizzle to help raise additional awareness and funds.


“I’m super excited for Thursday,” said Chicken or the Egg owner Paul Merheb. “It’s going to be a fun day to try and not talk. But it’s going to be difficult, especially in my line of work as a café owner. A close friend recently lost his father to the disease, and it took away his ability to talk in his last few months.”


Championing the cause is renowned food and travel journalist and presenter, Sofia Levin, who is the official ambassador for The Shut Up! For MND Challenge. Ms Levin, who is known for her enthusiasm for food, culture and eating curiously, is no stranger to the MND cause. Her father, Greg, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in January 2022.


“I communicate for a living and welcome the challenge which will help raise awareness and funds for MND Victoria. Being able to communicate easily and freely is just one of the many things I’ve realised we take for granted as healthy human beings,” said Ms Levin.

“A year and a half ago I couldn’t have told you a thing about MND. While I wish my family still lived in ignorance of this cruel disease, I am proud to play the cards we’ve been dealt as an ambassador for such a worthy cause.”


Several celebrities and public figures have also taken on the challenge. Masterchef winner, Diana Chan, Real Housewife of Melbourne, Lydia Schiavello, and Authenticity Coach and Keynote Speaker, Kat John are just some of the participants in this year’s event.


Now in its third year, The Shut Up! For MND Challenge will officially take place on Thursday 21st September 2023 (tomorrow). It involves participants not using their voice for 6 or 12 hours and finding alternative ways to communicate. Their silence highlights in a powerful and eye-opening way what many people living with MND face or will face. Each MND journey is different, but a majority of people will lose their speech and become reliant on other forms of communication.


On average, there are approximately 503 Victorians living with MND at any one time. In Australia, 2 people are diagnosed with MND every day, and 2 people die of MND every day.


MND is a progressive, degenerative disease that attacks the nerves that support movement, speech, swallowing and breathing. There is currently no known cause, treatment, or cure, and the average life expectancy after diagnosis is 27 months.


The Shut Up! for MND Challenge is hosted on the official website All money raised through this initiative directly supports people living with MND.


Until there’s a cure, there’s care.

About us:

MND Victoria has focussed on care and support programs to improve the lives of thousands of Victorian families impacted by MND for the last 42 years. We are the only not-for-profit organisation providing direct care to all Victorians living with the devastating disease, at no cost to them.

Contact details:

Daniel Woodrow
Manager Supporter Development and Communications at MND Victoria
P: +61 447 039 029


Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.