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Australians raise the bar for the Leukaemia Foundation’s U.G.L.Y Bartender of the Year

Tuesday October 1, 2019

More than 800 bartenders across the country have come together to be ‘U.G.L.Y.’ for the Leukaemia Foundation’s U.G.L.Y. Bartender of the Year awards. The extraordinary group of Aussies raised a massive $920,000 to pay for 11,500 nights of accommodation, essential for regional families affected by blood cancer who must travel far from home to receive life-saving treatment.

The U.G.L.Y. (Understanding. Generous. Likeable. You!) Bartender of the Year awards see Australian bartenders compete in the heart-warming hospitality charity campaign which invites pubs, clubs and hotels across the nation to host fundraisers to help beat blood cancer.

This year, Australia’s top 5 U.G.L.Y Bartenders are:

  1. Jenny Lagozzino, Lagozzino’s Top Pub, Tatura, Victoria
  2. Isabella Wyman, Glenmore Tavern, Rockhampton, Queensland
  3. Keith Morris, Burleigh Heads Hotel, Burleigh Heads, Queensland
  4. Debbie Weaver, Lawrence Tavern, Lawrence, New South Wales
  5. Ailan Hickey, Diver’s Tavern, Broome, Western Australia

The Leukaemia Foundation congratulated the Australian Top 5 and all the bartenders and venues who participated in this year’s event.

“All of these generous bartenders and their communities have really helped to make a difference for Australians desperately needing accommodation to be closer to blood cancer treatment,” a Leukaemia Foundation spokesperson said.

“Unfortunately, most regional and rural Australians who are diagnosed with a blood cancer will have to leave their home, work and local community to relocate to a major city for their treatment.

“Funds raised by these amazing venues and their bartenders through this competition ensures these families have a safe home while undergoing life-saving treatment.”

The U.G.L.Y. Bartender of the Year competition is Australia’s largest hospitality charity fundraiser and has raised an incredible $14 million in its 11-year history, providing a significant 175,000 nights of accommodation for regional families. The event commenced as a state-based event and in 2019 moved to a national event for the first time.

The spokesperson said this vital support takes away the financial and emotional burden of finding and paying for accommodation, allowing Australians living with blood cancer and their families to focus on the most important thing – getting well. It also means families can stay together, close to their loved one during treatment, for as long as they need.

“U.G.L.Y stands for Understanding, Generous, Likeable, You and this label really reflects the kind-hearted and giving natures of bartenders in our clubs, pubs and hotels, which are often the heartbeat of Australian communities,” they said.

The Leukaemia Foundation recently released a first-of-its-kind nationwide report titled State of the Nation: Blood Cancer in Australia. The report details the true size, scale and impact of blood cancer and the lived experiences of people living with blood cancer in Australia today.

The Leukaemia Foundation spokesperson said the comprehensive and evidence-based report shows that blood cancer has been underestimated and underreported. It identifies that blood cancer is now more significant and prevalent than ever before and that diagnosis rates are on the rise across the country.

Every day another 41 Australians are diagnosed with a blood cancer – the equivalent to one Aussie every 36 minutes. Blood cancer still claims more lives than breast cancer and melanoma and sadly 20 Australians lose their life to blood cancer every day.

By 2035, this report shows these figures are predicted to at least double.

For more information about the U.G.L.Y. Bartender of the Year competition, visit


About the Leukaemia Foundation’s State of the Nation: Blood Cancer in Australia report:

Full report available here:

A visual summary of the report’s findings available here: 

Last updated on January 3rd, 2023

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