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One simple message… what Barry, Elle, Briony, Luke and Lyndey want all Aussies to know this Blood Cancer Month

Leukaemia Foundation 4 mins read

MEDIA RELEASE

  • Well-known Australians unite with Leukaemia Foundation to share important message this Blood Cancer Month.
  • Barry, Elle, Briony, Luke and Lyndey available to speak on their experience.
  • Australia’s blood cancer support line open for anyone, anywhere, impacted by blood cancer.

A blood cancer diagnosis is devastating, disrupting, and an emotional rollercoaster – just ask Barry Du Bois, Elle Halliwell, Briony Benjamin, Luke Brattan and Lydney Milan OAM.

Together, with the Leukaemia Foundation, these well-known Australians are uniting this Blood Cancer Month to share one simple message with fellow Aussies impacted by blood cancer – you are not alone.  

Diagnosed with a rare blood cancer Solitary Plasmacytoma in 2010, and later the incurable blood cancer Myeloma in 2017, TV personality Barry has been through his fair share of treatment.

“When you’re told you have an incurable blood cancer, you’ll do everything in your power to give yourself an extra second, day, week or even month to spend with your family,” said Barry.

“I’ve been through surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. It’s been incredibly tough emotionally, mentally and physically, and my fight is not over.”

Barry credits his family for their support and for giving him the strength to get through, but he’s aware that not all people with blood cancer have the same unwavering support around them.

In response to the need for greater support for blood cancer patients and their loved ones, the Leukaemia Foundation launched Australia's first and only blood cancer support line in 2022.

According to CEO Chris Tanti, the blood cancer support line has been a positive addition to the services offered by the Leukaemia Foundation, especially considering recent research.

“We know that seven in 10 people with blood cancer face emotional challenges, and almost 40% have a lot of questions or feel completely uncertain about their diagnosis,[i]” he said.

“The blood cancer support line helps to ensure that every single Australian facing blood cancer knows that they are not alone.

“They can easily access the Leukaemia Foundation’s services and support no matter where they live, or what stage they are at in their treatment journey. We’re only a phone call away.”

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) this week confirmed that 19,500 Australians will be newly diagnosed with blood cancer this year – an increase of close to 100 people since 2022.[ii]

“The incidence of blood cancer is on the rise with more Australians experiencing the devastation of a blood cancer diagnosis than ever before, and they need our help,” Mr Tanti said.

For well-known Aussies Elle, Briony, Luke and Lyndey, the pain of blood cancer has impacted them all in different and devastating ways.

“In 2016, my life changed in an instant and my world was thrown upside down,” said Elle.

“I went from being a successful journalist, to being diagnosed with a chronic and incurable blood cancer, to then discovering I was pregnant with my first child, all in the space of just 48 hours.”

Elle is now blessed with her beloved son Tor but lives with the daily highs and lows of chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) – a blood cancer she may live with for the rest of her life.

“I’m eternally grateful for the support and access to services that I’ve had since I was diagnosed.

“I could not have got through the past seven years without my family and friends, and organisations like the Leukaemia Foundation, who have been with me every step of the way.”

The Leukaemia Foundation offers access to life-changing, wraparound health services including emotional, health and wellbeing support, practical support, and the ability to connect with others who understand what you are going through in a safe and supportive environment.

Mr Tanti added that latest research confirms that access to the right information and supportive care can lead to a better quality of life and a higher chance of survival for blood cancer patients.[iii]

“Whether you’re living with blood cancer, undergoing treatment, in remission, a carer, or grieving the loss of a loved one, our highly skilled blood cancer support professionals are available to guide you through the emotional, physical, and psychosocial challenges of blood cancer.”

Anyone impacted by blood cancer, at any age and stage, can contact Australia’s blood cancer support line Monday to Friday via calling 1800 620 420 or visit bloodcancer.org.au.  #YouAreNotAlone #ThisIsBloodCancer

- END –

For media enquiries and to interview a below spokesperson, email media@leukaemia.org.au.

Available for interview:

  • Chris Tanti, CEO, Leukaemia Foundation: With an extensive background in the health sector, Chris is available to discuss latest blood cancer statistics and the vital support the Leukaemia Foundation provides to blood cancer patients and their loved ones.

  • Barry Du Bois: TV personality and a strong advocate for mental health, Barry is available to talk about his personal experience with blood cancer and the positive impact that the right support has on those Australians diagnosed.

  • Elle Halliwell: Elle is a writer, entrepreneur and wellness advocate and is available to discuss her journey with chronic blood cancer, and the importance of support of friends, family and the Leukaemia Foundation.

  • Briony Benjamin: Author, content creator, and motivational speaker Briony, was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2017. She is available to talk about her story with blood cancer and how it led her to write the book, ‘Life is Tough But So Are You.’ 

  • Luke Brattan: Sydney FC star and supportive brother – Luke is no stranger to caring for someone with blood cancer after his sister Holli-Mia was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2019. Luke also lost a close friend to blood cancer. He’s passionate about raising awareness and encourages others to reach out to the Leukaemia Foundation for support.

  • Lyndey Milan OAM: In 2011, Lyndey experienced her darkest moment when she lost her son Blair to leukaemia. A familiar face in Australian media, Lyndey’s been instrumental in changing the way Australians think about food with her best-selling cookbooks, programs and series. Lyndey shares her story in the hope that one day, no other family goes through the heartbreak of losing a child, or anyone, to blood cancer.

[i]  Leukaemia Foundation, 2023, State of the Nation: Blood Cancer in Australia
[ii] https://www.aihw.gov.au/
[iii] Hall, A, Este, C, Tzelepis, et al, 2014, Factors associated with Haematological cancer survivors experiencing a high level of unmet need across multiple items of supportive care: a cross-sectional survey study, Support Care Cancer, 22:2899-2909, doi: 10.1007/s00520-014-2264-6.


About us:

About the Leukaemia Foundation: The Leukaemia Foundation stands with Australia to help cure and conquer blood cancer – with care. Together we are attacking every blood cancer, from every direction, in every way we can. We stand beside every Australian to be their voice and their someone-to-turn to, fighting to get them access to the best care. We also accelerate research that is delivering rapid advancements in blood cancer diagnosis and treatments. Plus, we provide services and support that empower people living with any blood cancer to live well after diagnosis. You can learn more about the Leukaemia Foundation and blood cancer at leukaemia.org.au


Contact details:

For media enquiries and to interview a  spokesperson, email media@leukaemia.org.au.

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