No pain, no gain

Car­rie Bick­more’s can­cer foun­da­tion has helped ThePro­ject star cope with the death of her hus­band. By SHAN­NON MOL­LOY

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE -

GRIEF is a strange thing to live with. It can strike with fe­roc­ity in the most un­likely of cir­cum­stances and then be to­tally ab­sent in the ob­vi­ous ones, as Car­rie Bick­more has dis­cov­ered over the past six years.

Her hus­band Greg Lange died in 2010, just two days after Christ­mas, after a long bat­tle with brain can­cer.

The sad­ness – that aw­ful sense of loss – never en­tirely goes away, Bick­more says.

“I don’t know if I want it to, though,” she says. “It’s a strange thing, but I guess it’s want­ing to know that per­son is still with you in some way.”

When The Pro­ject’s co-host won her 2015 Gold Lo­gie, don­ning a blue beanie and giv­ing an im­pas­sioned speech about the dis­ease that took her hus­band, she couldn’t have imag­ined the re­ac­tion that fol­lowed.

Her heart­felt plea for aware­ness and sup­port res­onated across the coun­try. Peo­ple wanted to chip in, to help her make a difference, so Car­rie’s Bea­nies For Brain Can­cer was born.

“The foun­da­tion has given me a pos­i­tive place to chan­nel a lot of the feel­ings I have,” Bick­more says.

“It’s also a real le­gacy for Greg and a le­gacy for [son] Ol­lie as well.

“And it’s gone so well. I’m hum­bled by ev­ery­one’s sup­port and generosity. I can’t believe we’ve raised $1.2 mil­lion in just over a year.”

Through a con­cert fundraiser and the sale of de­signer bea­nies, which sold out this winter, her or­gan­i­sa­tion has been able to splash much-needed cash on vi­tal re­search projects.

“The money is go­ing to make a difference and hope­fully one day other fam­i­lies don’t have to go through what I went through,” Bick­more says.

A few months ago, she walked into the Royal Mel­bourne Hos­pi­tal for the first time in years. The times she’d spent there with Greg were of­ten plagued by a sense of hope­less­ness.

“It’s where Greg had his surgery, a place where I’d never felt much hope,” she says. “But to go back this year to present a cheque for $250,000 to the Neu­ro­science Foun­da­tion, to this ex­cit­ing re­search pro­ject, I felt hope.

“I feel re­ally pos­i­tive about the brain can­cer space and every­thing that’s go­ing on. I feel for­tu­nate to be part of it … it wasn’t un­til after my Lo­gies speech that I re­alised the power I had to raise money.

“Had it not been for that re­ac­tion to my speech, I don’t think I would’ve done it.”

It’s been a big year for Bick­more – and she is com­pletely ex­hausted.

Her du­ties on Ten’s hit newsen­ter­tain­ment show keeps her busy, and it’s a job she’s still as en­er­gised by as she was at the start seven years ago.

“I think it’s be­cause there have been so many changes, some dif­fer­ent hosts … I’ve never had that lull where it feels like Ground­hog Day,” she says. “I love it, and [co-hosts] Waleed [Aly], Pete [Hel­liar] and I are so close. We get along like a house on fire.”

Bick­more re­cently came across a tape of the show’s first episode and couldn’t believe how much she and the show had changed.

“No one can ever see that footage,” she laughs. “It needs to be a hid­den in a dun­geon some­where. It’s amaz­ing how much things have evolved.”

Oliver, 9, and daugh­ter Evie, 18 months, are a de­light­ful hand­ful. Add the al­most full-time com­mit­ment to the foun­da­tion and var­i­ous me­dia and en­dorse­ment com­mit­ments, and it’s easy to see why she is keen for a break

“Every year I’m a bit tired at the end and ready to switch off, but this one more than ever,” she says. “It’s been full on – all great stuff that I’m re­ally thank­ful for. But I’m spent.”

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