Meet our ambassadors
We are truly honoured to be working with such prominent and well-known Australians who have joined forces with the Leukaemia Foundation to tackle blood cancer including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.
This distinguished group are all connected in some way to blood cancer, whether that is through a personal diagnosis, the diagnosis of a loved one or sadly the loss of someone they love to blood cancer.
We are grateful to them for generously donating their time to support the Australian blood cancer community – united in a common goal of zero lives lost to blood cancer by 2035.
Barry Du Bois
Barry Du Bois was first diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer called solitary plasmacytoma in 2010, which later developed into myeloma, an incurable type of blood cancer, in 2017. He underwent a series of challenging treatments, including surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and a blood stem cell transplant, and is partnering with the Leukaemia Foundation to ensure every Australian that hears the words “you have blood cancer” receives the best treatment, care, and support regardless of where they live.
“I’m sharing my story hoping that it will help other people going through something similar to me. Everyone affected by blood cancer deserves the best possible care and support, regardless of where they live or their circumstances.
I know that from my own river of life that seeking help can be difficult, especially when you feel the pressure to appear strong and capable. That is why it is crucial to reach out. Working with the Leukaemia Foundation, I want people to know that they are not alone.”
Barry first graced our living room screens after his original blood cancer diagnosis. He began hosting TEN’s renovation reality series, The Renovators in 2011, and this was followed by his role as popular presenter of CH 10’s The Living Room, where he appeared alongside Amanda Keller, Dr. Chris Brown and Miguel Maestre. It was here where the much-loved renovation expert learned his blood cancer had returned as myeloma.
Barry and his wife Leonie are loving parents to twins Bennet and Arabella, and we welcome his support and voice in raising blood cancer awareness in Australia.
At 31 years old, Briony Benjamin was fit and healthy and played touch footy and squash twice a week before sadly being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) just before Christmas in 2017.
Briony is a passionate storyteller, content creator and motivational speaker. After graduating from University, she moved to Sydney and got a job as the Executive Producer of publishing platform Mamamia.
Riding a career-high, out of nowhere, Briony was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) diagnosis. She quickly had to say goodbye to her new apartment and job, and begin treatment.
Briony had no visible lumps on her body – she only experienced night sweats, coughing and lethargy. She believes that because Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) can be so hard to spot, it’s especially important to listen to your body and to take action when something doesn’t feel right.
“I felt scared and fearful because there were so many unknowns – once diagnosed, I didn’t know what treatment would look like or if I would survive.’”
She kept a video diary documenting her blood cancer journey, and created a short video called ‘You Only Get One Life’, which quickly went viral and led to a publishing deal.
Her book and journal, ‘Life is Tough But So Are You’, is all about how to rise to the challenge when things go pear-shaped (or C-shaped, like they did for her).
Briony Benjamin is proud to be a Leukaemia Foundation National Ambassador, and we welcome her support to bring awareness to the signs and symptoms of blood cancer.
Elle Halliwell is an Australian writer, entrepreneur and wellness advocate. After forging a successful career as one of Australia’s favourite voices in fashion, lifestyle and entertainment, Elle’s life changed forever in 2016. Within the space of just 48 hours, she was diagnosed with an incurable blood cancer, chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), and discovered she was pregnant with her first child.
Now blessed with a beautiful son named Tor, she hopes that sharing her blood cancer journey with Australia will change the conversation around mental health and living with chronic illness. Elle regularly travels around the country to discuss these issues at schools and corporate events, covering topics such as overcoming adversity, managing anxiety, healthy living and the joys and complexities of motherhood.
Health and wellbeing have always been a passion of Elle’s, and she is now a health coach, herbalist, Integrative Natural Health practitioner and auricular therapist. She is a passionate advocate for organic products, promoting an environmentally friendly, low-tox lifestyle, and is now working closely with the Leukaemia Foundation to raise further awareness of blood cancer. “Work has been a great support, and from day dot I have been grateful to the Leukaemia Foundation which has been so helpful. It’s made a difference, and it’s meant I haven’t felt alone.”
More detail on Elle’s journey can be found here: https://www.leukaemia.org.au/stories/cml-and-pregnant/
Humphrey B. Bear
Humphrey is a honey-loving bear who lives in his Tree House in the Magic Forest. Humphrey B. Bear is one of Australia’s most beloved children’s icons. He first appeared on television in May 1965, and after almost 50 years on TV, Humphrey continues to inspire and entertain children and families at events nationwide.
Craig Kocinski is one of the guardians of the Humphrey brand. Both of his parents are survivors of blood cancer.
For over five years, Craig’s mother underwent many chemotherapy treatments for blood cancer (systemic mastocytosis) before it evolved into aggressive systemic mastocytosis (ASM), a rare form of leukaemia, in 2015, within months of Craig’s father’s leukaemia diagnosis.
Weeks turned into months in the hospital for Craig’s mother, and the Leukaemia Foundation supported her by providing incredible support staff to visit and inspire her during treatment, and accommodation for Craig’s father next to the hospital so he could be there for her.
Craig had this to say about his family’s experience with the Leukaemia Foundation: “The benefits of the Leukaemia Foundation are life-changing. Mom’s ASM usually has a poor life expectancy, but thanks to the Leukaemia Foundation and her doctor, Mom is still with us. The Foundation was there for us every step of the way. Humphrey was so moved by what the Foundation did for my parents that he couldn’t wait to help bring attention to what the Leukaemia Foundation does and why donations are vital.”
You can keep track of Humphrey’s antics here:
Lyndey Milan OAM
Lyndey Milan lost her much-loved son, Blair, a talented actor, to acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in 2011. Lyndey experienced first-hand the darkest moments of blood cancer.
A familiar face on television and in print, Lyndey has been instrumental in changing the way Australians think about food for four decades via her own nine best-selling cookbooks, nine TV series and influence as former Food Director of the iconic Australian Women’s Weekly. She is an award-winning multi-media presenter, MC, speaker, food & wine teacher, consultant, debater, judge and regional Australian food specialist. She is also an international tour host and enrichment speaker imparting her knowledge of great food to travellers around the world.
Lyndey had completed filming ‘Lyndey and Blair’s Taste of Greece’ and Blair was diagnosed a few months later before the series had aired. As a devoted mother, she is passionate about bringing awareness to the signs and symptoms of blood cancer.
“Blair was not diagnosed until three days before he died. A month or so before he went to a GP complaining of not feeling well, possibly having a cold/flu he couldn’t shake off and [had] difficulty breathing. The doctor did not even take a blood test, but instead assumed that Blair was just having panic attacks!“
After meeting with the haematologist following Blair’s tragic passing, Lyndey was told that if he had been treated one week sooner, things could have been very different.
As a National Ambassador for the Leukaemia Foundation, she aims to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms, so no other family loses a child (or anyone) to blood cancer.
Luke Brattan is a professional footballer star who plays for Sydney FC in the Isuzu Ute A League. He is no stranger to both blood cancer and the Leukaemia Foundation, having shaved his head for World’s Greatest Shave three times! After multiple teamups with the Leukaemia Foundation, we now welcome him as a National Ambassador.
Luke’s sister, Holli-Mia, was diagnosed with mixed phenotype acute leukaemia in 2019 – a very rare type of blood cancer where more than one type of leukaemia occurs at the same time.
Since being diagnosed, Holli spent many months in and out hospital receiving treatment. In February 2020, Holli had a successful blood stem cell transplant and thankfully, is now in remission.
“Holli is a true superhero,” says Luke. “The Leukaemia Foundation is an amazing organisation that provides practical and emotional support to people living with blood cancer wherever they live, including accommodation during treatment, someone to turn to, transport service support to medical appointments and access to the best care and treatment.”
Luke has made over 200 A-League appearances, having played for Brisbane Roar, Melbourne City and Sydney FC over his 13-year career in the Australian topflight. He has won four A-League Championships, three Premiers Plates, and an FFA Cup.
Luke has also lost a close friend to blood cancer and is passionate about raising blood cancer awareness and fundraising for the Leukaemia Foundation.
Matthew Doyle is a descendant of the Muruwari people from the Lightning Ridge area of NSW, he grew up on the lands of the Dharawal and Gadigal people of Sydney. Matthew is a professional musician, composer, dancer, choreographer, cultural consultant, and educator, with a passion for passing on and the sharing of cultural knowledges of the Sydney clans.
Matthew tragically lost both of his twin sons Shawn and Jeremy to blood cancer at the ages of one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half, respectively.
“There’s not a day that goes past that I don’t think about my children. I think it’s also important that people tell their stories. There are painful memories, but there are lots of great memories as well. And those are what we focus on, and that’s what keeps us going. “
Matthew’s culture played a key role in his twin sons’ short but rich lives, and he reflects on its importance in shaping him as a person. “The healing process is really important, and I feel my culture helped me. Being able to sing my songs, play my didgeridoo, meditate or to go for a bush walk or whatever it may be.”
“In my opinion, to create a difference for people living with or impacted by blood cancer is about ongoing support financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually. This can only be achieved by having the means to do so and experienced and or qualified personnel in the space to provide all these elements.”
Matthew has toured extensively in Australia and abroad, performing in many major international events, including the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games, the Indigenous Gallery Musee Du Quay Branly in Paris, World Expo Japan, World Youth Day 2008, and took part in the production of “I am Eora” at the 2012 Sydney Festival. Matthew is now also working part time at Australia’s prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA).
Urvi Majumdar is a comedian, writer, actor, producer. She performed her debut solo show to rave reviews and packed audiences at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. She is a regular guest on Triple R, she has been a writer for Channel 10’s The Project and ABC’s The Weekly and is a senior producer at Footscray Community Arts.
Urvi first connected with the Leukaemia Foundation when her father was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in 2022.
“It was a complete shock for my family and one of the most difficult periods we’ve been through,” Urvi says.
“From the start, and to this day, the Leukaemia Foundation has been there for moral support, providing accommodation key research and information when we needed it most. That’s why I’m honoured to join this brilliant community and raise money to help their important, life-saving efforts!”
We’re proud to welcome Urvi Majumdar as a National Ambassador for the Leukaemia Foundation, and as a strong supporter of our collective goal for zero lives lost to blood cancer by 2035.