AC/DC guitarist donates to Canadian’s fundraiser for Alzheimer’s

Angus Young’s late brother and bandmate, Malcolm Young, was diagnosed with dementia

Steve McNeil, during his fundraising skate at the Forks in Winnipeg Wednesday, February 20, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

Enthusiastic AC/DC fan Steve McNeil says he’s feeling inspired to push even further with his marathon skate for Alzheimer’s research, after the fundraiser gained support from one of his rock idols.

The Toronto hockey referee says a $19,260 donation from the Australian band’s guitarist Angus Young was a shock at first, but it has motivated him to consider extending his campaign for Alzheimer’s awareness with another stop.

“I’d like to go down to Gander, Newfoundland and do one last skate in honour of our military families battling this disease,” McNeil said in a call from Winnipeg, where he finished the seventh leg of his ice “skate-a-thon” fundraiser on Thursday.

The 57-year-old postal worker has been skating for 19 hours and 26 minutes in each of Canada’s NHL cities, dressed in AC/DC gear and playing the band’s rowdy albums on his earbuds for the entire skate.

The annual fundraiser was founded in honour of his mother who battled Alzheimer’s disease before dying in 2013. But it took on another meaning after AC/DC’s rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young — Angus’ late brother and bandmate — was diagnosed with dementia a year later.

“I just thought it would be a really cool thing if … I only listened to AC/DC,” he says of the duration of the lengthy skate, which honours his mother’s 1926 birth year.

“It kept me going through the wee hours of the night. A lot of air guitar.”

READ MORE: 69-year-old skydiver with Alzheimer’s wants to inspire others

McNeil encourages Canadians to pitch in $19.26 to his cause, but he says a significantly higher donation arrived after a man approached him in Calgary on Saturday. The band’s drummer, Chris Slade, has a son who lives in the city, and he brought his family to the rink after seeing local media reports.

Once he chatted with McNeil, Slade’s son offered to call up his father in Las Vegas for a video conversation.

A few days later, a surprise $19,260 donation was made to the Alzheimer Society of Ontario by the band’s guitarist, McNeil says.

All of the attention sparked by AC/DC has inspired the skater to think bigger.

Already this year he expanded the marathon run past its original home base in Toronto, heading to Montreal, Ottawa before going to Western Canada.

McNeil says he hopes to add an eighth skate on the East Coast near the Canadian Forces Base in Gander, if he can find a sponsor.

“The vision I have is I’m in the bottom of the C-130 (Hercules aircraft),” he says. “I would skate with all the men and women that keep us safe around the world.”

He also would love to see AC/DC rock out in a private rock concert for the Canadian troops.

Before he chases any further dreams, McNeil is winding down from his seventh marathon skate. He wrapped it up the way always does — playing AC/DC’s “Gone Shootin’” as the last track.

“I’ve got to get myself mentally prepared to do this each time. It’s easy to do when you’ve got that crankin’ in your ears,” he says of the music.

“It’s something that keeps your blood flowing through your body.”

David Friend, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BCHL: Bulldogs trade veteran defenceman, acquire new players during offseason

Grayson Valente suited up for three seasons with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs

ARTS AROUND: Rollin Art Centre garden opening June 16

Virtual art exhibits and gift shop to come

A LOOK BACK: maritime history of Alberni Inlet

Take a peek at Alberni Valley history with Alberni Valley Museum

EDITORIAL: It’s time for Canada to admit to its own racism

Make no mistake, racism exists in Canada.

UPDATE: Highway 4 reopens after police incident near Port Alberni

Highway between Port Alberni and the West Coast was briefly closed in both directions

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Man found dead in his tent at Island homeless camp

Facebook posts tell of personal struggles and attempts to stay clean and sober

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

B.C. woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Most Read