Personal moment that broke Project host
Carrie Bickmore captured the hearts of the nation during Tuesday's emotional The Project special dedicated to brain cancer awareness, with over $3.5 million raised for her foundation.
While the show was filled with laughs, performances and touching stories, the beloved television personality was overcome with emotion as she shared a glimpse into her personal battle with the disease that took her husband, and father of her son Oliver, Greg Lange, in 2010.
By the end of the program, the 39-year-old Gold Logie winner was crying tears of gratitude as the fundraising sum for her charity Beanies for Brain Cancer was revealed.
RELATED: Carrie's sweet post about daughter
During the special, which featured a wall of virtual guests flocking to support the emotional cause, Carrie spoke to neurosurgeon Professor Andrew Kaye, who retired from the Royal Melbourne Hospital last year.
Professor Kaye treated Carrie's late husband for over 10 years, so it was a poignant reunion for the pair.
"Ten years ago, one of the brains operated on by the Professor was my late husband, Greg. But back then, we used to call him Prof," she said, going on to read aloud letters her husband had written about the retired surgeon.
Meet the incredible and renowned neurosurgeon who has sacrificed so much to give people a fighting chance at surviving brain cancer. Carrie sat down with the man who helped her husband through some of his darkest and scariest times. pic.twitter.com/E9dslrdw0w— The Project (@theprojecttv) July 14, 2020
"I found some old letters that Greg had written about when he first met you," she said, going on to read an excerpt.
"We enjoyed some verbal sparring over how much of a dud club (the Hawks) were … The Prof said, all right, you've got a brain tumour and we need to get it out or you'll die. I sat stunned for a minute, the transition from Hawthorn to an operation to avoid death seemed a little quick.
"But that was the Prof. Blunt and to the point.
"I don't know if it was the plastic brain on the table, or the banter on AFL but I knew right then and there this was the guy for me."
With her voice trembling, Carrie took a moment to compose herself, before asking the Prof if he remembered meeting Greg.
"I remember him vividly. I remember his extraordinary courage. I never cease to be amazed by the courage of the people that I treat. People say, doctors have to have courage, they have got to be bold. It is not the doctors with the courage, it's the patients," he responded as Carrie's eyes welled with tears.
"Prof, I'm not sure I had the chance to say to you, to your face, thank you for everything you did for Greg, for me and for my family," Carrie told the doctor.
"We're sad you've retired but thank you for the gift you've given so many people over the years and you are an incredibly humble man and would hate the praise but deserve it. We'll be forever grateful and so glad you were the one to walk with us side-by-side on that journey, thank you."
"That's very kind. Carrie, I really deeply appreciate your words. You need to understand that, I'm not a person who shows emotion easily," he replied.
Cutting back to the panel, the host turned to her fellow panellists and said: "For Greg, Prof was his everything. He was his man to help him … Greg was incredibly brave and I think he couldn't have done it without Prof by his side."
Greg died from brain cancer in December 2010, after first being diagnosed with the disease in 2001.
"Survival rates haven't changed in 30 years," Carrie had told viewers early in tonight's episode.
"That is not good enough and it won't change until more research is done and that won't happen until more money is raised," she added, going on to thank everybody who urged her campaign to go on amid the pandemic.
"The world is crazy and I want to thank to everybody who said please do the campaign. They are touched. Brain cancer is not stopping because of what we're going through," the mum-of-three said.
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TODAY IS THE DAY!! Beanies go on sale to the public 6:30pm AEST. We don’t want you to miss out (beanies sold out in just a few days last campaign) so make sure you tune in tonight to @TheProjectTV to be a part of our big launch & find out the minute orders open. Massive shout out to the team at @cottonon who have helped us make these awesome beanies for you. Get ready to buy yours at www.carriesbeanies4braincancer.com #carriesbeanies4braincancer #beatbraincancer
Carrie wore a beanie during her Gold Logie acceptance speech in 2015, which was a moment that has gone down in television history - and her message was simple.
She lost her late husband Greg Lange to brain cancer following a 10-year battle with the disease, and she doesn't want that pain to be experienced by anyone else so turned her own heartache into the charity, which aims to raise desperately needed funds for research.
The cosy headwear has become one of the hottest items to have in winter and in recent years the collections have sold out within days.
Originally published as Personal moment that broke Project host