Sunday, 18 September 2011

Follow up on RUOK day

Watching a re-run of Australian Story on Saturday (first aired on ABC TV on 12th September)
I was amazed to see Saturday´s episode was on Gavin Larkin, the founder of RUOK day, that Australia had just celebrated a few days ago.
In fact I hadn´t even know who had started RUOK Day until I watched this program.

Gavin Larkin and son Gus (photo from ABC tv)
Gavin used to be a highly successful advertising executive who three years ago used his high-profile contacts to create a national day of awareness for suicide, by encouraging people to check on the welfare of friends, colleagues and family. He had lost his father to depression and suicide when he was 26.
With a terrific advertising campaign he achieved in the first 9 months what would have take the public mental health sector nine years to achieve!!

In February 2010, at the age of 41 he was diagnosed with an aggressive lymphoma and given a 50% chance of survival.
But worst was to come, when a few weeks later his 11 year old son Gus was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
With the help of the another famous Australian, neurosurgeon Charlie Teo, Gus was operated and is in a stable condition after a few rounds of chemotherapy.
Through all of this Mr Larkin has continued to lead RUOK Day from his hospital bed, even checking himself out to attend the launch of the second year event.
Despite having a bone marrow transplant from his brother, his lymphoma has not been cured and he is now receiving palliative care at his Sydney home. He was given weeks to live in July, but was determined to be around for the third year of RUOK Day on September 15th.
He continues to be very positive and inspiring, although he has taken a step back from his role at the helm of the organization. His kids will certainly be proud of their amazing DAD.
And Australians should also be proud to have such an inspiring MAN who set up such an amazing and helpful organization.
Thanks to ABC and "Australian Story" for broadcasting such interesting and inspiring stories.


  1. Very inspiring man. Just so sad his son was also affected by this dreadful disease.

  2. Amanda Kendle :

    I was also amazed by Gavin Larkin's story when I watched this. I'd assumed when they were foreshadowing an illness that it would be depression to tie into RUOK, but no, he'd done that off his own bat before he found out about his cancer - so, so sad - what a fantastic man. Definitely inspiring.

    (somehow the original comment disappeared, and I copied and pasted it)

  3. What a story. As a person who works in mental health, I really like the idea he's developed.

  4. Thanks Lovely Light, a very interesting concept! It must take a strong minded person and of course lots of contacts to implement this I would presume. Who knows you can start up something in South Africa. xx

  5. So amazed! Really a inspiring man, with courage, strong minded. God help him to recover from his ilness.


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