Six years on from the devastating loss of her husband, Greg Lange, to brain cancer, Carrie Bickmore is carrying on his legacy, and raising vital funds in the process.
After taking home the Gold Logie in 2015, The Project host used her platform to raise awareness for the disease.
"Every five hours in Australia someone is diagnosed with brain cancer, and eight out of ten people who are diagnosed will die," she said during her acceptance speech, fighting back the tears as she recalled her beloved husband’s suffering.
"Over 10 years I watched him suffer multiple seizures a day, lose feeling down one side of his body, have his little three-year-old push him in his wheelchair because he couldn’t walk any more. He was an incredibly brave man … but he shouldn’t have had to go through that," she said.
The star finished her speech by donning a beanie, just like Greg used to wear, and urged everyone to do the same and share a picture on social media using the #beanies4braincancer.
Overwhelmed by the response she received, and feeling compelled to do more, Carrie’s started Carrie’s Beanies4BrainCancer, selling beanies with all proceeds to go towards brain cancer research.
And not one to do things by halves, she set herself the massive goal of reaching $1 million.
A little over one year from that speech, and despite a few minor logistical set backs, it seems Carrie is well on track to reach that tremendous goal.
“I thought no one would buy a beanie, so I got a selection of beanies and then I announced it on The Project, and within two days I had sold out of all those beanies that I had,” she told 2DayFM’s Rove & Sam.
“So then I had to order another lot of beanies, but they take six weeks to get here, so then I’m telling everyone ‘yeah support me, but you’re not going to get your beanie for six weeks’. Then some of them have been stuck at sea in a shipping container. I’m like how do people run businesses this is full on!”
“I was so overwhelmed by people wanting to buy them. I completely underestimated, I thought a year on, a few people will support and I would have been happy with that. But I’ve been absolutely gobsmacked.
“If I sell out of this second batch – and I’m almost there – I’m going to get the million dollars that we said we were going to raise! It’s incredible the generosity of people, its just been amazing”.
As well as raising money, the mother of two says the foundation has opened her up to a whole new of community of people, who she is helping through her works, but who she also says help her with her own grief.
“When you’re in your 20s and going through cancer, it is a very lonely time, you think no one else understands. They’re all partying and travelling and doing these fun things and you’re in this little bubble. I felt very isolated,” she recalled.
“The thing I’ve worked out since Greg’s passing is that there are so many people doing what we were doing. There is a huge community out there and I feel like I’m part of the community now which is incredibly good for my grieving and for me to have support there. And also I feel like I’m now helping other families who may have felt isolated like I did.”
For more information and to donate, head to carriesbeanies4braincancer.com.