To the uninitiated, Carrie Bickmore has a pretty perfect existence. A stellar TV career that has helped her evolve into one of Australia’s most loved personalities. A devoted partner and two children. A contract with French beauty brand Garnier and a fierce fashion following. Yet perhaps her most remarkable achievement – raising an incredible $4.5 million for brain cancer research — is a triumph that has stemmed from pain and loss.
The co-host of The Project reveals that when her husband Greg Lange succumbed to his battle with brain cancer in 2010, it would forever change the way she lived her life. “Every sense, every experience becomes heightened — good and bad,” she tells marie claire. “Grief is something that doesn’t start and finish on a certain date. It comes and goes, it ebbs and flows, and sometimes years after an event you can feel like you’re right back there again.”
Grief revisits out of the blue, she says. “It’s often when I’m watching Ollie [my son] do something for the first time that I reflect on how I wish Greg could see how incredible Ollie is.”
Adopting the same stoic approach her Mum took when she lost her husband to a stroke, Bickmore has managed to channel some of her grief into a greater good through Beanies 4 Brain Cancer, the charity she founded in 2015 after winning the Gold Logie for Most Popular Personality on Australian Television. “My mum used to say to me, ‘Put your head up, smile and just keep moving. Because if you keep moving, you’ll move through whatever the pain is.’”
And move she did. In just three years, Beanies 4 Brain Cancer has raised an incredible $4.5 million and counting, an achievement that she hopes will alleviate some of the suffering associated with the disease. “If it means that future families don’t have to go on what is the most horrendous journey ever, it is a really nice feeling,” says Bickmore.
Her current partner Chris Walker and her two children, Ollie, 10 and Evie, her daughter with Walker, 3, are also a constant source of happiness. “The older I’m getting, the more I’m realising that my goal is far less work-oriented and more about a calm, chilled-out life. My Instagram’s not going to look very fun this weekend, but God, my soul feels happier.”
The new issue of marie claire, starring Carrie Bickmore, is on sale Thursday.
For more information and to buy a beanie, visit carriesbeanies4braincancer.com.
This article originally appeared on Marie Claire.