Our Ambassadors

The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP - VIC

Josh is the Federal Member for Kooyong, Treasurer of Australia and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party. He has had a long and varied career including Minister for the Environment and Energy, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister under Prime Minister Tony Abbott and jackaroo on a sheep station. Away from politics, Josh is an avid tennis player, and has developed an interest in photography having held his first exhibition in 2008 at a gallery in Richmond.

"I am honoured to be an Ambassador for Crohn’s & Colitis Australia Live Fearless Challenge campaign. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is becoming more prevalent in our community each year with approximately 1 in 250 people aged 5-40 being diagnosed. The #LiveFearless campaign is a terrific initiative to support those living with IBD who face challenges daily. One of the ways to reduce the effects is keeping active. During September I ask everyone to get behind the 150km walk or run for IBD. I will be participating in the 150km challenge, and encourage everyone to join individually or with friends as a way to be physically active but most importantly to raise awareness and funds for this important cause".

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Tahlia Giumelli – NSW

Miss Universe Australia finalist Tahlia Giumelli has been living with Crohn’s disease since 2013. Her entire family also suffers from the condition, so it’s not been hard to tell other loved ones about her diagnosis. She revealed her condition to her boyfriend, Rabbitohs star Tom Burgess, before they even began dating. The 25-year-old model shares her story to inspire other IBD patients to live their lives to the fullest. Tahlia is also grateful for the amazing team of specialists who have worked with her on this life journey. As Tahlia says, “Crohn’s disease doesn’t stop me. In fact, it motivates me to achieve anything. I hope to raise awareness and educate people about IBD and encourage those who suffer from this illness to live fearless and don’t let anything stop you from doing or achieving what you want.”

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Erin Goodwin - WA

Erin was first diagnosed with Ulcerative colitis in 2006 after months of feeling unwell, losing weight and bleeding. In the process of getting well she lost her large intestine and rectum. In her words, she is the “proud owner of an ileostomy bag and Barbie butt.” Life has changed for Erin in so many ways since her diagnosis, but with just a bit of extra planning she is capable of anything. She is a better person from having endured her many challenges. Since her diagnosis, Erin has met her amazing husband and recently they adopted their son. Her advice for others living with IBD is that, “You are not alone. There are plenty of us out there that have endured a lot and come out stronger for it. You will too.”

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Brittani Nicholl - NSW

Champion surfer Brittani was diagnosed with Crohn's when she was just seven years old. At that time, there weren’t the same opportunities to connect with people who could relate to her experience. Now a confident adult, Brittani is a CCA Ambassador who provides hope for others. Having IBD has tested her in every single way. It has tried to take her life but it has also made her stronger, more resilient and given her a high pain threshold. It has allowed her to focus on being the best person she can be, while helping others, spreading awareness, and being more compassionate. Brittani reaches out to those who need help, “if you ever need someone to chat to, I am more than happy to talk, or even just listen...you will be ok.”

 Read Brittani's blog here  Support Brittani

Dylan Swan – ACT

Dylan Swan was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease five years ago after months of crippling stomach pains and several visits to the Emergency Department. That’s when Dylan found Crohn’s & Colitis Australia online. Living with Crohn’s disease has inspired Dylan to research further how certain food types and diets impact the gut. Not only is this knowledge essential for his own health, it also helps him in his role as a Personal Trainer. His advice for people newly diagnosed with IBD is, “That it is manageable. You need to listen to your body and understand what foods and environments react to your body, in both positive and negative ways.”

Read Dylan's blog here  Support Dylan

Dani Ross - NSW

Dani was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2009. Her sister, Ashleigh Ross, also lives with IBD and they are both proud Ambassadors for CCA. Living with IBD has had its ups and downs for Dani, and she has learned to manage the physical effects as well as the anxiety. But through her experiences, Dani has met a lot of people facing the same challenges, and it’s a comfort to know that she is not alone. Dani says to anyone newly diagnosed with IBD, “get into contact with others like myself, and ask as many questions as you need in order to get through the first few stages of living with the disease.”

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Ashleigh Ross - NSW

Ashleigh first started her relationship with CCA in 2009 when her sister, Dani Ross, was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. It’s a relationship that has deepened since she was eventually diagnosed with the same disease. Even though the condition has changed her life in many ways, Ashleigh uses her experiences and natural exuberance to spread awareness about IBD in the community. She sees CCA offering vital support and information. Together with her sister Dani, Ashleigh is a proud Ambassador for CCA, offering the advice, “Stay strong! Hang in there! We got this!”

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Tracey Murrin - QLD

Tracey was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2005 and had her first surgery a year later. The last 12 years of living with IBD has taken her from extreme pain and fear, to strength and sense of purpose. After surgery to remove her large bowel, living with a bag is now part of Tracey’s life. She is committed to changing the stigma of poo fear. She doesn’t mind that when friends see the poo emoji they think of her! In fact, Tracey is honoured, as it means that she is raising vital awareness. Tracey is also a compassionate listener. She has been a mentor on the CCA Youth Camp and is still in touch with a couple of the kids and their parents. Tracey says, “IBD has taught me how strong I am, it has taught me that I am a fighter. It has made me more aware of what others around me are going through and it has given me the drive to help others with IBD that need help or support.”

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Tim Phillips

Tim was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease as a young person. Now a professional theatre-maker and performer, living with IBD has given him the stimulus to create work in order to understand better his illness and body, and to challenge the stigmas associated with IBD. Tim knows that living with IBD is a mixture of good and bad days. While it’s always at the back of his mind, he doesn’t let it define and dictate the way that he lives. Tim can also draw strength and focus from his life with IBD. He says, “There is nothing like being really sick to see how your team and community of friends and family rally around you, to truly see how important and loved you are to those people. It has also made me appreciate the ‘healthier’ times and in good health made me more motivated to go after my goals and do the things that make me happiest.”

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Melissa O'Connell - SA

Melissa has been living with colitis for a couple of years. It has turned her life upside down and fundamentally changed her. And it has changed her lifestyle for the better. She now lives with a new type of normal. She has changed her diet and her exercise routine and she manages her condition. Through being an Ambassador for CCA she has met so many amazing people who continue to inspire her, which helps her help others as well as improve herself. Her advice for others is, “Don’t let it stop you from living your life. Always listen to your body and treat it well. Set goals in your life, work towards them to keep you focused, and smash them!”

Read Melissa's blog here  Support Melissa

Francesca McMillan – SA

Francesca has lived with IBD symptoms since her school days, but it was not until a major flare up in 2010 when she was officially diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. That’s when she got to know Crohn’s & Colitis Australia. Since the diagnosis, Francesca has learned to be more intuitive with her body. Over the years she has shared her knowledge with people of all ages, which has led her to take on a mentoring role through CCA. Her experiences have made her stronger and haven’t stopped her from living her passion. She has not to let it stop her from achieving anything she has put her mind too. Francesca represented Australia in the Mrs Universe 2014 and runs South Australia’s oldest Bollywood Dance School “Fusion Beats”. Francesca’s advice to others living with IBD is to, “Not to let it stop you from going out there and achieving your dreams. Life is tough and suffering from IBD can make it even harder. Know that you will have good days, and you will have bad days, but you are definitely not alone.”

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Gavin Almenara - VIC

Gavin first learned about CCA in 2017 when his close friend was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and his cousin was diagnosed ulcerative colitis. Gavin came across CCA when he was researching organisations to do fundraising. As someone who has seen the effects of Crohn’s and colitis on loved ones, Gavin’s key advice to those experiencing the conditions is, “Don’t face it alone. There are people who will support you, because it’s not what stands in front of you but who stands beside you.”

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Ryan Hartwig - VIC

Ryan was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in early 2017 and that’s when he first got to know CCA. While the adjustment to his new life was significant and took time, there have been many great things to come from the diagnosis. He has adopted a healthier and more cautious approach to diet and lifestyle, and the impacts on his physical and mental state have been positive. His advice to others is to, “Establish a lifestyle and diet pattern that works for you to treat your symptoms, and do your best to stick to it. Seek professional help through specialist doctors, and be sure to follow their advice because it is the key to getting back on track.”

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