Creating Awareness for Motor Neurone Disease

zo-ee Leadership

Learn more about zo-ee’s leadership team

Gina Gonis – President

I am the President and Co Founder of zo-ee, a charity which raises funds for Motor Neurone Disease (MND).  I had never heard of MND prior to when my friend Karen told me her mother was dying from the disease in 2005.

Voluntary work and helping those less fortunate than myself had always been my personal goal in life, therefore, helping start zo-ee together with Karen and a number of our close friends was something I found and still find very rewarding and proud of.

Apart from my voluntary work raising funds for MND research, I work full time as a Law Clerk in litigation dealing with debt recovery.  I had a giggle one day when a person once pointed out to me that between what I do for a living and my voluntary work, I have a slight resemblance to the life of Robin Hood.

I am a firm believer of team work and I am very accepting of other people.  I especially enjoy interacting with people from all walks of life and find peoples life experiences fascinating.

Finally, I am a beach lover.. no snow for this young lady thank you.  J

Marcus King – Vice President

I was invited to join zo-ee a few years back by a very enthusiastic Gina, and haven’t regretted a minute of the truly inspiring team work from all the committee members since that first meeting in the casual surrounds of our boardroom (usually a pub!)  I’m coming up to my third MotorOn event and I can say that I’ve never experienced nerves, excitement and then pure relief (with a dash of satisfaction) once the event has come to a close, out our attendees have left after enjoying one of the top nights in their entertainment calendar.  I’m proud of the team and I’m proud of the money we’ve raised for research into this hideous disease.

Karen Mustica – Founder of zo-ee

zo-ee was established in 2005 by Karen Mustica following her mother’s diagnosis of MND. After months of countless doctors and specialist appointments Karen’s mother, Olga aged 62, was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and given 6 months to live. Shocked and confused by the diagnosis Karen set off to find some more information on MND in the hope to get her mother some treatment.

There was nothing. No cure, no treatment, no hope.

The only thing she did uncover was that there was very little awareness of MND. 90% of the people she spoke with had never heard of the disease.  Her mission then became to change this, to raise money for research and create awareness in her community.

The inaugural Motor On Cocktail event was held on February 25th 2006. With support of friends and family the event was a huge success raising $25,000.

One month later Karen’s mother passed away. Devastated by her loss she realised that even though her efforts couldn’t save her mother’s life she wanted to make a difference to other families that have been affected by Motor Neurone Disease.

The MND catch phrase is “Never Give Up”, which sums up Karen’s passion to find a cure for MND.

Five years after her mother’s death, Karen still works with the zo-ee team to put on various fundraising events. As a stay home mother of two young boys, Karen finds it hard to get to all the zo-ee meetings, but does what she can. “When I’m not at the park or building fortresses out of lego, I work on bringing in sponsored items and most importantly invite people to our events”.

“zo-ee has grown and matured over these past six years. With only three original committee members, zo-ee has seen many changes. It’s been great to welcome new members and sad to see people go, but as volunteers we can only help where we can to rid this world of MND”.