Barry Du Bois’ colourful life has been punctuated by tragedy.
The Australian designer, builder and television presenter lost his mother to cancer in 2004.
Just over a year later, Du Bois’ wife Leonie, miscarried twins after 13 rounds of IVF. The doctors then discovered she had an aggressive form of cervical cancer.
“It was hard to live through that and then just a year from that my wife was pregnant with twins and I heard that scream again from the bathroom,” he said in a speech at The Cancer Council’s Biggest Morning Tea in 2014.
“I realised for the 13th time we’d lost that chance again. Through complications from the loss of those twins, Leonie ended up in hospital and we discovered she had an aggressive cervical cancer.”
Hello friends, I am sure my announcement on The Living Room tonight that my cancer has returned was a shock for many of you. After living six years in remission, it was a shock for my family and I too. The Living Room means more to me than most things on Earth, and it means an incredible amount to be loved by so many people. Thank you so much for all your love and support. It means the world to me. I am going into this battle with the love, support and encouragement of my friends and family, and all of you. I’m going to beat what I have got, and hopefully inspire others to do so too. Baz xAdvertisement
Leonie underwent treatment and the couple eventually had twins, Arabella and Bennett, who are now five years old.
In 2011, Du Bois was then diagnosed with plasmacytoma myeloma, a cancer of the immune system which attacks healthy bone marrow.
By the time he was diagnosed, it had already destroyed the vertebrae at the top of his spine.
“I was having a Christmas surf with my brother and nephew and I had a sore neck. Being a builder I was used to that sort of thing, and I went under a wave and cracked my C1 vertebrae. I didn’t know it at the time but it was the last of my vertebrae caving in,” he said in the speech.
After his diagnosis, the dad-of-two underwent a 15-hour surgery to put in a titanium spine to repair the damage caused by the cancer and to stabilise his spine. He then underwent aggressive radiation therapy.
The cancer disappeared.
But on Friday night, six years after his initial diagnosis, Du Bois announced on The Living Room that his cancer had returned – and it was more aggressive this time.
“It seems that my cancer has come back, reasonably aggressively now I have what is regarded as multiple myeloma. We’ve got a cancer in my body that has created several tumours right through my body,” he said.
“In the medical world, I am on the exit off the freeway, there is no doubt about that.
“What I want to do in this journey is to show everybody the things I am going to make sure my exit journey is as long as possible and as easy to handle.”
“Now I see an upside to that, this is just another fight for me that I am quite comfortable I am going to win.”
His co-hosts Amanda Keller, Chris Brown and Miguel Maestre comforted the 57-year-old as he told the audience he has already had two rounds of chemotherapy. He said at the end of his third round he’s hoping to do a stem cell and bone marrow retrieval to prepare for a transplant.
“At Christmas time when we are on holidays I am going to be in an isolation ward with the great people at St Vincent’s Hospital under the care of some amazing people and I’m going to have a very strong dose of medicine,” he said.
Du Bois then thanked his co-hosts and The Living Room viewers for their ongoing support.
“It’s going to be a tough gig and what’s given me strength … is I know how much support I have from you guys and how much support we get as a show and as a TV family,” he said.
“Everything I have ever done in my life I have backed myself 100 per cent. I am not only going to back myself I am going to go into this with the support of the most amazing people I know and friends and family that love me that I don’t even know. I am going to hopefully not only beat what I’ve got but I am going to inspire some others to win their wars as well.”
Our hearts go out to Du Bois and his family during this difficult time.
LISTEN: How Samuel Johnson copes with life after cancer claimed his sister Connie.