Meet our Ambassadors
Brian Cook, Carlton Football Club
Patron of Wombat’s Wish
Brian is the longest-serving CEO in the history of the AFL, spending 9 years at the West Coast Eagles and then 23 years at Geelong Football Club prior to his current tenure with Carlton.
Before becoming our Patron in 2021, Brian had spent many years as a highly valued supporter and Ambassador of Wombat’s Wish. Brian’s early experience of grief, stemming from the death of his precious mum Shirley when he was only nine years old, meant that he could identify with the particular pain that bereaved children and young people feel.
As Patron, it’s Brian’s hope that his influence can help connect grieving children with Wombat’s Wish to find the support they need.
Tom Hawkins, Geelong Cats
Tom grew up in Finley where he started his career with the Finley Football Club, before moving to boarding school in Melbourne where he played for the Sandringham Dragons.
He commenced in the AFL with Geelong in 2007 and during his outstanding career has won numerous awards including selection for multiple AFL All-Australian teams and most recently played his 300th game with the Geelong Cats.
Sadly, Tom’s mother passed away in April 2015. Tom says, “I had the support of my family and football community, however for many children/young people there is no support available. Wombat’s Wish is an amazing charity that can provide ongoing support to children after the death of a parent. I am so proud to be an ambassador for Wombat’s Wish”.
Emily Mannix, Melbourne Vixens
Emily first learnt of Wombat’s Wish when the organisation relocated to Drysdale. Emily was touched by our work, having lost an important person in her life, her Grandfather, and she reached out to offer her support as an ambassador. “I think this is an amazing organisation. It is a very worthwhile cause to support and to promote as no child should have to go through the death of a parent alone.”
She says, “Wombat’s Wish is just so important for children to understand that there is no right or wrong way to grieve and that what they are feeling is allowed. It is also amazing that children can connect with other children who are going through a similar situation, so they don’t feel alone or misunderstood.”
Travis Boak, Port Adelaide
Travis Boak grew up in Torquay, where he started his football career with the Torquay Tigers and Geelong Falcons. His AFL debut was with Port Adelaide in 2006. He has had an outstanding career, winning many awards; Port Adelaide Best and Fairest, selection for the All-Australian Team and has polled consistently well in the AFL Brownlow medal.
Travis’s father passed away when he was a child and with this lived experience, he appreciates that it is a difficult time for any young person. Travis was fortunate to have had the support of his family and football community, however for many children/young people, there is no support available.
Travis says, “It means a lot to me to be able to work closely with Wombat’s Wish as an ambassador. After experiencing the loss of a parent at a young age, I want to be able to help those going through a similar circumstance. Connecting, sharing stories and assisting each other get through a tough part of our lives”.