“A few minutes later, I had moved sometime into the future where cancer had finally beaten me, and I was not on Earth to protect my son, my family, my world. Within minutes, I had worked myself up so much that I brought myself to tears of fear and a night with no sleep.”
But it was Bennett’s revelation the next morning that moved Barry, more so than the grim thought of terrifying dragons taking down his “beautiful boy”.
“‘Benny,’ I said, ‘did you have a dream last night?’ His eyes widened, and he replied, ‘Yes!’ ‘Tell me, mate, what happened in your dream?’ ‘Dad,’ he said, ‘we went fishing again. It was so good; I caught the biggest fish. We cooked it and ate it. It was amazing.’”
Barry says the unexpected nature of his son’s apparent nightmare brought him to tears once again, but this time they were joyous. It was at that moment Barry knew had to live every moment with positivity – and take a much- needed fishing trip.
Barry shares Bennett, 11, and his twin sister Arabella with his wife, Leonie.
“I am blessed with a truly beautiful and perfect family,” he says.
Over the years, Barry has been open about his battle with plasmacytoma myeloma, a type of terminal cancer. However, he tells New Idea he abstains from oversharing with the twins.
“I don’t talk about mortality with the children,” he says.
“I don’t believe they understand it anyway. When I’m going through treatment and there are physical changes in my body, I just explain we need to eat better, sleep better and exercise more to be strong.”
While Barry admits raising two young children in this modern world is “difficult”, he is determined to teach them to be self-sufficient.
“Too often problems are solved on our behalf and many try and solve the issues that our children face, but I feel that’s a mistake. I try to help the children navigate their disagreement and resolve the issue. As you get older, if you haven’t built resilience and emotional equity from resolving small issues, bigger ones will be too overwhelming,” he shares.
At the end of last year, Network 10 pressed pause on The Living Room. But between his role as executive director for R U OK? Day, his ambassador work with The Leukaemia Foundation, and advising businesses with wellbeing training, Barry is kept extremely busy.
While what lies ahead for Barry is uncertain, for now he assures anyone reading, “embrace the journey ahead and invest in positivity and positive relationships. Be yourself, as everyone else is taken. Believe in you, trust yourself – honesty will always support you.”