NOVA radio host, Michael “Wippa” Wipfli is on Celebrity Apprentice Australia 2021 for one reason only and that reason is his friend Cooper Rice-Brading.
When Cooper was just 17-years-old, he was diagnosed with cancer called sarcoma — a rare and complex cancer of the bone, cartilage or soft tissues such as fat, muscle, connective tissue or blood vessels.
“Coops and I were really, really close and he lost his battle a couple of years ago, osteosarcoma which is a young person’s bone cancer,” Wippa told TODAY Extra hosts Richard Wilkins and Ally Langdon in September 2020 after his casting was announced.
“There are a lot of sufferers out there. It’s a very rare disease. It’s a very complicated disease as well. The awareness and the money, I truly mean it when I say, this is why I am in there.”
Just two weeks after his seventeenth birthday, he was injured while playing cricket, and an incidental find revealed that he had the disease.
“It’s a very, very rare cancer which is why we’re raising awareness and you often find out you have it through some sort of sporting injury,” Wippa said during an interview with 9Honey in 2019. “It’s a horrible thing.”
Wippa met Cooper when he came to the radio station after he had been diagnosed and the pair kept in touch. Following this meeting, Wippa hosted a fundraiser for Cooper’s family charity, the Cooper Rice-Brading Foundation (CRBF) — the charity he is now raising money for on Celebrity Apprentice.
“He was the greatest campaigner the charity could have or the condition or disease could have because of how brave he was. They were some fun times, tougher times as well,” he said at the time. “It’s a horrible thing because often in times of tragedy you hear it said to go home and hug your family, and you do, you have to, because the moment is special, very special.”