With 1.5 million Australians unaware they have indicators of chronic kidney disease, helping to raise community awareness of the prevention and early detection of kidney health issues is vital. A huge thank you to our wonderful and dedicated Patrons and Ambassadors.
His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd)
Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia
Peter Cosgrove was born in Sydney in 1947. The son of a soldier, he attended Waverley College in Sydney and graduated in 1968 from the Royal Military College, Duntroon.
Early in his military career, he fought in Vietnam, commanding a rifle platoon. He was awarded the Military Cross in 1971 for his performance and leadership during an assault on enemy positions.
In 1972, he served as Aide de Camp to Governor-General Sir Paul Hasluck. He returned to regimental life as second in command of a Company, rising to Adjutant then Company Commander in the Army’s 5th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (5 RAR), then 5/7 RAR in Holsworthy, Sydney. Subsequent appointments included a period as a tactics instructor at the Army’s Infantry Centre in Singleton, New South Wales; a year’s study at the United States Marine Corps Staff College in Quantico, USA; extended periods of duty in the United Kingdom and India; and command of 1 RAR. He was appointed a Member in the Military Division of the Order of Australia (AM) for his service in command in 1983-84.
Peter Cosgrove came to national attention in 1999 when, as Commander of the International Task Force East Timor (INTERFET), he was responsible for overseeing that country’s transition to independence. For his leadership in this role he was promoted to Companion in the Military Division of the Order of Australia (AC).
Promoted to Lieutenant General, he was appointed Chief of Army in 2000. After further promotion to General, he served as Chief of the Defence Force from 2002-2005. He retired from the Australian Defence Force in 2005.
Subsequently, he accepted positions on several boards, including QANTAS, Cardno and the Australian Rugby Union. He was appointed by the Queensland Government to lead the taskforce rebuilding communities in the Innisfail region following the devastation caused by Cyclone Larry in 2006. From 2007 to 2012, he chaired the Council of the Australian War Memorial, and served as Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University from 2010 until early 2014.
On 25 March 2014, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that General Cosgrove would become a Knight in the Order of Australia when sworn in as Governor-General.
General Sir Peter Cosgrove gave the Boyer Lectures series, “A Very Australian Conversation” in 2009. His autobiography “My Story” was published in 2006. He was named Australian of the Year in 2001.
An avid sports follower, General Sir Peter Cosgrove takes particular interest in rugby and cricket. He and his wife Lady Cosgrove have three adult sons and one grandson.
Lady Margaret Brabham
Lady Margaret Brabham has been a proud Patron of Kidney Health Australia since 2008.
Generous with her time, Lady Brabham has supported numerous fundraising events, campaigns and special functions, to help raise vital awareness of kidney disease.
Kidney Health Australia is a cause close to Lady Brabham’s heart. Her late husband, a three-time Formula One champion and icon of world motorsport, Sir Jack Brabham, suffered from kidney disease and was on dialysis for a number of years. An Australian motor racing legend, Sir Jack was the first F1 driver to be awarded knighthood in 1978.
“Sir Jack was in his seventies when he appeared to have some early signs of kidney disease. With a family history of kidney failure, Sir Jack had been seeing a nephrologist on a regular basis,” said Lady Brabham.
AAP Image/Dave Hunt
“Within a few years, he started receiving peritoneal dialysis treatment. I did the exchanges at home for a few months, until a problem arose and he required haemodialysis. For the next eight years, he was very fortunate to receive Fresenius treatment at the Allamanda Dialysis Unit on the Gold Coast.
“Jack was extremely fortunate that at the end of his life he was quite well and happy with no real problems.”
“I am very proud to continue as a Patron for Kidney Health Australia,” said Lady Brabham.
“I am constantly amazed at their wonderful programs for dialysis and transplant patients. So many programs are in place, such as the Kidney Kids’ Camp, Big Red Kidney Bus and the Emorgo Kidney Transplant House, which make the lives of kidney patients a little easier.”
“Kidney Health Australia has a large, dedicated and caring team, and offers an enormous amount of literature on kidney health on their website and in hard-copy formats.”
Lady Brabham was born in Kent in the United Kingdom, and immigrated to Australia with her parents as a young girl. She has two daughters from a previous marriage, two granddaughters and two grandsons.
Sir Jack Brabham OBE (2 April 1926 – 19 May 2014)
Formula One World Champion
Kidney Health Australia pays tribute to our Honorary Patron, three-time Formula One champion and world motorsport legend, Sir Jack Brabham OBE.
Sir Jack was one of the most accomplished and colourful racing drivers in the history of motorsport. Winner of three F1 World Titles in 1959, 1960 and 1966, he was the first Formula One driver to be awarded knighthood in 1978.
A talented engineer, Sir Jack also ran a successful motor repair business, and was a loving husband, father and grandfather.
Sir Jack suffered from kidney disease and was on dialysis for a number of years.
As a proud Patron of Kidney Health Australia since 2008, he passionately supported Kidney Health Australia’s vision and work. Together with his wife and fellow Patron, Lady Margaret Brabham, Sir Jack attended numerous fundraising events, campaigns and special functions.
Kidney Health Australia CEO, Anne Wilson, said coping with failed kidneys was one of the toughest drives of Sir Jack’s life.
“When his kidneys failed, Sir Jack’s focus was to remain active and get as much out of every day as possible,” said Ms Wilson.
“He was extremely passionate about encouraging kidney patients on dialysis to continue the activities they enjoy and live their lives to the full.
“A complete inspiration, Sir Jack gave hope to many people young and old – he was a true legend.”
Mr Normie Rowe AM
Normie Rowe AM
has been a proud Patron of Kidney Health Australia since 2009.
As Australia’s first ‘King of Pop’, Normie Rowe released a string of hit singles in the sixties including ‘Que Sera Sera’, ‘Oh La La’, ‘Shakin’ All Over’, ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’, and ‘It’s Not Easy.’
From 1966, he toured the UK with an array of music legends including Gene Pitney and The Troggs.
Normie’s music career was interrupted in 1968, when he was drafted for compulsory military service to Vietnam. He was discharged in 1970, and today remains a leading advocate and spokesman for Vietnam Veterans.
Normie is well-known for his role playing Doug Fletcher, in Australian TV soap opera, Sons and Daughters. He has also had leading roles in a variety of musicals, including Les Miserables, Annie, Chess, Evita, Cyrano, Get Happy and Oklahoma.
Most recently, Normie portrayed former Prime Minister, Harold Holt, in the docu-drama 'The Prime Minister is Missing' on ABC TV, and received national acclaim for his performances in the 'Long Way To The Top' concert tour.
In 2005, Normie was inducted into the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Hall of Fame and was named a ‘National Hero’ by the Australian War Memorial.
This year, Normie is celebrating his 50th year of recording with the release of his new CD 'Frenzy'.
Normie is a Member of The Order of Australia (AM) for his services to Vietnam veterans, the entertainment industry and the community.
“Kidney disease is a silent killer, with 1.5 million Australians unaware they have indicators of chronic kidney disease,” said Normie.
“When I first became aware of this dire health issue, I was stunned. I approached Kidney Health Australia to help get the important message out, and became a National Patron.
“Prevention is vital. I am dedicated to helping educate the Australian community, particularly those most at risk, on how important it is to keep a close eye on your kidney health.”
Ambassador Frankie J. Holden
Australian actor, singer and TV presenter
Frankie began his show-business career with the legendary rock group, ‘OL’ 55’, one of the most successful Australian recording acts of all time.
Frankie has created some of Australian television’s most memorable characters, with leading roles in long-running serials, such as Police Rescue, Underbelly and A Place To Call Home.
He has appeared in more than 30 films, both in Australia and overseas. In 1990, Frankie was awarded ‘Best Actor’ in a tele-feature by The Australian Film Institute and The Australian Television Society for his performance in Police Crop.
The 1989 film, Return Home, earnt Frankie an AFI Nomination for Best Performance in a feature film. In 2007, he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in the AFI Awards for his work opposite Brenda Blethyn in Clubland. He has hosted the AFI Awards three times.
In theatre, Frankie has toured with productions including The Rocky Horror Show (1992) and Grease (1994). Recently, he appeared in the MTC production of David Williamson’s Don Parties On.
Frankie is one of Australia’s most popular TV presenters. From 1993 to 1996, he was part of the team roaming the globe for Channel Seven’s The Great Outdoors. He has also hosted his own LIVE variety program on the Nine Network, In Melbourne Tonight, and from 2008 to 2014, co-hosted, What’s Up Down Under, with his wife Michelle - a family travel show on the Ten Network.
Currently, Frankie can be seen as ‘Roy Briggs’ in A Place To Call Home – the top-rating Australian drama on the Foxtel network.
In 2014, Frankie joined Kidney Health Australia as an Ambassador. His first official engagement was launching Kidney Health Week 2014 at Parliament House in Canberra.
“I am thrilled to be an Ambassador for Kidney Health Australia. Kidney disease affects an estimated 1.7 million Australians – something that came as a surprise to me, as I’m sure will to others. I am committed to doing all I can to help increase awareness of such an important health issue,” said Frankie.
Ambassador Rochelle Pitt
Singer/songwriter and Renal Registered Nurse
Rochelle is a Butchulla/Kalkadoon/Wirri Indigenous Australian, who started singing in church and school choirs in Cairns, Far North Queensland.
Rochelle learnt her vocal skills from listening to her aunties and uncles sing the old gospel hymns, and realised at a young age, the power of music and voice.
She started singing professionally at the age of 23, when she wrote and released her first EP, ‘Black to Reality’ - full of uplifting and inspirational songs. Her Indigi-groove hit, ‘Too Deadly My Sister,’ is still played on Indigenous community radio.
In 2014, Rochelle appeared on Channel Seven’s X Factor as a top 8 finalist.She became renowned as the ‘soul mama’ for her ability to sing a diverse variety of genres in her unique soul/blues/jazz style.
Rochelle said being a professional singer/songwriter and a renal nurse has helped shape her life path.
“I know that I’m here to make a statement about the strength, beauty and love we all have inside us,” Rochelle said.
“Music is therapy, love and life - it nourishes our soul and puts us in a good place. That’s why I will never stop singing, it’s who I am and it’s part of me.
“I hope everyone gets something from my music. I want people to feel uplifted and positive when listening to and seeing me perform.”
In June 2015, Rochelle became an official Ambassador for Kidney Health Australia.
“I’m excited about my new role as an Ambassador for Kidney Health Australia,” said Rochelle.
“Having worked as a renal nurse for many years and being an Indigenous Australian, I am extremely passionate about talking with my people about their kidneys and health.”
“Kidneys are definitely the unsung heroes within us. They are such simple organs, yet do so much, and we need to learn to love and respect our kidneys and look after them, as they endlessly look after us,” said Rochelle.
“Love your kidneys, and they will love you right back.”