The Project's Carrie Bickmore fights back tears: ‘Devastating'

The Project host Carrie Bickmore was seen fighting back tears on Wednesday night after sitting down with an Italian family going through a ‘devastating’ time.

The presenter introduced four-year-old Uma Tomarchio, who is currently fighting an aggressive form of leukaemia. Despite being born in Australia, the bubbly child is not eligible for Medicare.

The Project host Carrie Bickmore looking upset in an interview
The Project host Carrie Bickmore got emotional during an interview. Photo: Ten

Uma’s parents Lucia Gardini and Guiseppe Tomarchio first moved to Australia as students almost seven years ago, and while they run their own business now, neither are Australian citizens.

The couple has been informed that due to Uma’s failing health, they are unlikely to receive permanent residence.

Uma's only chance of survival is to have a bone marrow transplant, which costs $300,000.


Carrie asked the pair if they had considered going back to Italy for treatment, but after Uma had a seizure, the couple believed it was too risky to put their little girl on a plane.

Lucia then shared a touching anecdote with Carrie, saying that even though Uma has been so sick, she doesn’t want her parents to worry.

“She’ll just look at me and say, ‘I’m not flying to the sky mum, I’m staying here with you. Don’t worry’,” she said, bringing Carrie close to tears.

Lucia Gardini and Giuseppe Tomarchio being interviewed on The Project
Lucia Gardini and Giuseppe Tomarchio told Carrie about their tough situation. Photo: Ten

Carrie explained the situation on the show, saying that when she first sat down with the family, she didn’t understand how someone born in Australia wasn’t given access to Medicare.

“Until 1986, babies who were born in Australia were automatically Australian citizens, but that all changed," she began.

"Now one or both parents needs to be an Australian citizen, or the child must live here until they’re 10, before they can access Medicare. It’s a really tricky situation,” she told the panel.

While the star said the family have "a long road ahead", there was one piece of good news.

“Uma has secured a donor, and the transplant is set to take place next month,” she told the panel.

Thanks to a GoFundMe for Uma, the family have raised just over $350,000, meaning the child is able to start treatment.

 Giuseppe Tomarchio with his daughter Uma who has a tube attached to her nose
Uma has Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and needs a bone marrow transplant. Photo: Ten

Many people have sent well wishes to the family, with Uma’s story resonating with Australians.

“Stay strong. Every parent in Australia must’ve cried during parts of your Project story. All the best!” one wrote.

“Best wishes to you Uma, keep fighting. Australia is behind you,” another added.

“It broke my heart that a child would be denied medical help due to money, everyone deserves to be cared for. Go well beautiful girl,” a third wrote.

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