8 November 2017


Leukodystrophy are a group of rare diseases that affect the cells of the brain. Specifically, the diseases affect the myelin sheath, the material that surrounds and protects nerve cells. Damage to this sheath slows down or blocks messages between the brain and the rest of the body. This leads to problems with movement, speaking, vision and hearing.

Sadly, for VACC apprentice Michael Lyons his father Derek passed away in 2016 with a strain of Leukodystrophy.


Michael is a fourth year apprentice motor mechanic and currently works at Courtney & Patterson Ford in Heidelberg.


Together with his mother, sister and two younger brothers they worked tirelessly to organise a fund-raising evening “The Dinner for Derek” in support of Leukodystrophy Australia.


Held at the Heidelberg Golf Club on Saturday 21 October 2017 where numerous organisations donated 19 various prizes for auction to a crowd of 150 people who attended to make generous bids on.


“Towards the end of the night my mum, sister, two brothers and I got up on stage to thank everyone who had attended and contributed to the night. It was at that point I felt proud of not only myself but my family and friends for what we had accomplished,” Michael said.


“It took a lot of work and organizing but I know that my dad would have been proud of us and it was good to know that we were making a difference and bringing awareness to this horrible disease that took my dad’s life,” he added.

VACC Auto Apprenticeships Field Manager, Steve Tye Din said, “When Michael approached me a couple of months prior to donate a items for the event, I was more than delighted to be able to assist. We were happy to provide three box sets of SP tools for the auction.”


“Michael is a great apprentice and it was difficult on me and his fellow team members at Courtney & Patterson when I would talk to him at the time leading up to and during his father’s passing. He showed a tremendous attitude and strength to keep focus on his apprenticeship whilst dealing with the family situation,” Steve said.

A grand total of $15,219.85 was raised on the night. All the proceeds of the auction will go to Leukodystrophy Australia.  Approximately 70% will be used for research and the other 30% will be needed for general running costs of the foundation.