When thank you is never enough…

Wippa and his beautiful wife Lisa, sons Ted and Jack with sister Francesca

Australian media heavywieght and Nova radio host Michael “Wippa” Wipfli and highly accomplished media public relations executive Cathrine Mahoney came into Cooper’s life at a time when he was not keen on letting the outside world in.

He had very little time for anyone outside his inner sanctum of precious few people beyond immediate family.

Cooper’s condition had been deteriorating swiftly and savagely, and the outside world, even those closest to him throughout his brief life, were shut out. He did this to protect his friends. He wanted their memories of him to be positive, and not what he had become at the hands of sarcoma.

The exception to the rule were ‘Cath’ and ‘Wippa.’ Both very quickly became part of Cooper’s circle of trust and an extension of family.

Coop had a strong nose for genuine people and throughout the 18months from diagnosis to treatment, he ran his own race. He did not want to become the “boy with cancer” that elicited pity, he was hellbent on being the survivor, so becoming a token cancer patient for someone else’s personal gain, was never on the cards. He had avoided those who sought his company for pity, causing offence to some, but always sticking to his moral compass. He learned very early in the piece – Cath and Wippa were the real deal.

Both made Cooper laugh and times spent with them individually or together, were highpoints for Coops. Quality time spent with him away from cameras and media, resulted in a surprisingly strong bond and swift bond forming between the three. Unique as it was special. Each brought unbridled joy to his life when little else could.

Unsurprisingly, Cath and Wippa’s lives were impacted greatly with the news of Cooper’s passing, and from where our family stood, we couldn’t have blamed them for closing the door, and moving on. But neither chose to.

Instead, both continued with unwavering love and support for our family, at a time when we were at our lowest ebb. As a special aside, it wasn’t long before their respective families also became part of our lives, extending that very special bond, and providing enormous comfort through a myriad of highs and lows.

As we fast approach four years without Coop, Cath, Wippa and their families remain firmly by our sides. These remarkable friends continue to step up and do what they can to preserve Cooper’s legacy.

We have called on Cath and Wippa so often to assist with various projects along the way, and never once have they faltered.

Last year, both participated in the ground-breaking podcast series “Lets talk about sarcoma”, incepted and produced by Cath, giving up hours of their time and expertise to craft a finished product that resulted in a global distribution, and a meaningful tool for patients and families. Neither would accept payment in any form. Yet another labour of love, but one that held so much gravity.

Only two weeks ago, Cath and the highly talented Sarah McGilvray, who appears side by side with Wippa on the highly rating Fitzy and Wippa breakfast show, together with her role as co-creator of the very successful Nova production, “Not another parenting podcast’ performed for our guests at the annual CRBF Mother’s Day Breakfast, braving the Covid issues at the time, delivering a flawless and hysterical segment on parenting.

Which brings us to the announcement tonight.

Late last year, an unexpected call from Wippa advised us, albeit confidentially, he was going to take the Foundation with him onto the forthcoming Celebrity Apprentice Australia as his charity of choice. We were simply lost for words, and deeply humbled. We are a relatively new charity (4 years registered) and despite the high-profile charities Wippa could have chosen, he opted to choose the Cooper Rice-Brading Foundation, providing us with the opportunity of a life-time.

Filming for the Celebrity Apprentice Australia was incredibly rigorous over six days, and Wippa continued to burn the candle at both ends while filming took place, continuing is turning up each morning for a 6am start on his highly successful breakfast show, whilst also creating pilots for his production company.

This unspeakably difficult schedule did not only impact Wippa, but his wife Lisa, who was unwavering in her support. So many sacrifices were made by this family over the many weeks of filming, and for this reason, it is nigh on impossible to express our gratitude to Lisa, who at the time found herself juggling two children under the age of 5 and a new baby.

Tonight we have all watched on as Wippa’s dedication to advancing sarcoma, his bloody mindedness to ensure a win at all costs attitude, and never ending perpetuation of his very special friendship with Cooper, resulting in a win of enormous proportions. Funds that will make a quantifiable difference in the lives of the patients who are currently living without further treatment options.

We are thoroughly delighted to announce, Wippa’s outstanding efforts will be directed to supporting patients and families living with a sarcoma diagnosis, and toward the funding of a pivotal paediatric phosphoporteomic sarcoma specific clinical study through the Zero Children’s Cancer Programme, which will be named the Wipfli Family Sarcoma Research Grant.  This funding will support the Sarcoma Research Laboratory of Dr. Emmy Fleuren at Children’s Cancer Institute. Funds will be allocated to identify activated (phosphorylated) targets in sarcoma patients not covered in any other project, and will build the laboratory evidence needed to ultimately transform research findings and clinical recommendations.

It is impossible to articulate our thanks to Wippa, his beautiful family, for an opportunity which is rarely granted to a charity in its formative phases. This funding will provide the very real possibility of saving young lives, and will start a much needed conversation about sarcoma.

How blessed are we that Cooper left us the gift of friendship with his two special friends and their extended families?

Thank you for your support

  • Glitz Randwick

We wish to thank the profound generosity of our Mother’s Day Breakfast donors for making this event possible.

We would ask that if you have the opportunity to support these individuals and corporations, we would urge you to do so.

Our deepest gratitude to Robin Todd for sourcing these beautiful prizes, and to each of the businesses that appear on this page, who have supported the funding of sarcoma research in Australia

Poche Foundation/NSW Govt Hospice for AYA’s

Young adults living with incurable illnesses will have access to respite care when Australia’s first hospice for young people opens on Sydney’s northern beaches next year.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian together with major funders of the project, two of Australia’s leading philanthropists Kay and Greg Poche, today turned the first sods of soil at the site of the adolescent and young adult hospice, which will provide palliative care for 15 to 24-year-olds and their families.

The facility is the first of its kind in Australia, and will lead the way for similar facilities across the country for young people, who are currently forced to seek respite care in aged care facilities.

The facility cannot come soon enough. Young adolescents are over the age of 18, are currently no longer able to use the Bear Cottage paediatric respite facility.

The $19.5 million development is the result of combined state and federal government funding, community fundraising and philanthropy, supported by a very generous contribution from Kay Van Norton Poche and her husband Greg Poche.

Ms Van Norton Poche, who has supported Bear Cottage for many years, decided to back the project after learning young people were often seeking respite in nursing homes and rehabilitation centres.

“I just thought, we’re better than that. Dignity begins with life, and each life has it. So let’s give it to people that we can, when we can,” she said.

Member for Manly James Griffin said the facility would provide care for young people across NSW, including from rural and regional areas.

“This is a wonderful example of what happens when government, community and philanthropy come together to unite behind a single cause,” he said.

Mother’s Day Breakfast 2021

As 7am Friday the 7th May arrived, the rain that had been with us in Sydney for many days, together with the dark gloomy skies, momentarily cleared, and sunshine bathed the Wisteria Room, at the Centennial Park Homestead.

Right up until the 11th hour, this event hung in the balance due to the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney Covid scare, and the NSW government restrictions that followed.

The welfare of our guests would always be front and centre of this event and immediate procedures were put in place to allow cancellations and protection of those who still wished to attend.

The support of our special guests for the morning, allowed us to continue with a full programme, and for this we thank the ever-professional Melissa Hoyer, Cathrine Mahoney and Sarah McGilvray, the unflappable Georgie Katsanevenakis, together with the endless support of Jarrad Sapsford, and Marc Chami. Each of these remarkable individuals did not waver with their support of the event.

Melissa was outstanding. Her warmth, attention to detail and professionalism is second to none, and the careful preparation she places into hosting duties, the love and support she has shown the Rice-Brading family and Cooper’s legacy, together with the time she donates for charitable purpose, is truly remarkable. We are indebted to Melissa for her willingness to host this function over three years and the astonishing thoughtfulness she places into doing so.

Cathrine and Sarah are two of the most grounded women in the media, despite what they have achieved throughout their respective careers, with each of their stars continuing to rise. Their segment on parenting, relationships and motherhood provided a light-hearted and funny account of the day to day perils we are all so familiar with. Sarcoma is not a light subject, and to have these talented women lift the mood of the morning is something so very special to all of us at CRBF.

Our special guest speaker, Georgie Katsanevenakis was exceptional. This is a young woman with the world at her feet. Georgie shared her sarcoma diagnosis and her inner thoughts with a spell bound audience, and never one faltered. Despite the adversities in her life, she continues to inspire those who meet her, with her warmth, positivity, and grace. For Georgie it is a case of “watch this space”…

Jarrad Sapsford and Marc Chami are two exceptional young men who attended Sydney Grammar School, and were in the same year as Cooper.  They bravely performed the poignant A capella performance of ‘Shenendoah’ at Cooper’s service in 2017, together with Rob Hao, and Jasper Schoff.  Marc and Jarrad performed flawless recitals of Memories (Maroon Five), Your Song (Sir Elton John) and La Vie En Rose (Edith Piaf). As in past years, you could hear a pin drop as they held our guests in the palms of their hands.

CRBF’s own Mitchel Rice-Brading may be a Clinical Psychologist in waiting, however he is also a very polished public speaker. He conducted what was to be an interactive piece with our guests, which was severely restricted to due to Covid. A combination of thank you’s and roasts, he was highly entertaining and topical.

We thank our major sponsors of the breakfast, The Fresh Flowers Group, Autore, Glasshouse Fragrances and Lindt Chocolates, together with a list of prize donors too numerous to mention, but will be recognised separately for their generosity. Without your contributions, this event would not be possible.

Thanks must also go to the Trippas White Group and in particular Leena Chugani and Amy Tran for their excellent organisational skills, and the hospitality staff for keeping our guests safe on the day.

Ed Howard from East Coast Creative provided our beautiful photographs on the day, together with a selection of personal shots from Georgie Kats. CRBF would like to thank Ed for volunteering his time to capture these important memories.

Zoran Loveski from Sodium AV has been working with CRBF for three years, and is a consummate professional in his field. He also volunteers for the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, and we wish to acknowledge his dedication and the provision of the highest standard of audio visual production for our events.

Finally we wish to thank our volunteers, in particular Robin Todd for her tireless work over many weeks to secure raffle prizes, Kirsten Martensen-Arms, Kate Longden, Claire Bonic, Martin Rossleigh, Keith Cox, Tracey Neaverson and Gloria Gapes.

CRBF Celebrates Mother’s Day 2021


Because today is Mother’s Day it is one of three days each year we can use the CRBF social media platform for a post with a personal twist.

Those who know me, know I love our children Mitchell and Cooper to the moon and back, and together with CRBF co-founder & long-suffering husband Colin, & errant French Bulldog Betty, (not necessarily in that order) they are put very simply, my life.

On Friday, Mitch, delivered a flawless segment at the Covid ravaged CRBF Mother’s Day Breakfast. He roamed the room & thanked our key guests. Others were not quite so lucky.  I was one of them.

For those of you who didn’t attend this event Mitch informed our guests I “incessantly hounded the event organisers to have the venue serve alcohol @ 7am”  for our hallmark CRBF breakfast function –  in particular “a brick of Bundaberg Rum”, I sat for two minutes with the words to “killing me softly “, playing in my mind, eyes roaming the room looking for imaginary thought bubbles. “Where is she keeping that hip flask?” “Did the staff actually serve her coffee in that cup?”

Mitch I know you choose my retirement home, but you skipped a step – I choose where your inheritance goes.

There is a more serious note for today’s post.  CRBF would like to wish all the remarkable mother’s and significant others, joy, peace of mind, time with your loved ones, and a special day making special memories.  It is a day when we remember and honour those whose Mother’s Day will never be the same, as their child or indeed their mother no longer walks beside them.

To those mums, this day will always be met with a multitude of mixed emotions. A stark reminder of a perfect life forever altered.  Mother’s Day is a day to surround yourself with those who matter most, to do something simple that brings joy, or to simply march to the beat of your own drum. There is a no size fits all solution to these special days in the calendar.

Whatever form Mother’s Day takes for you, we send our love to each of our mums, & thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the difference you make in our lives.

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