MKR’s Carly and Tresne Share Heartbreaking Tribute after Loss of their Toddler


My Kitchen Rules stars Carly Saunders and Tresne Middleton have shared the devastating news that their 20-month-old daughter, Poppy Grace, has passed.

Poppy was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia at just 12 weeks and fought “tooth and nail until her final breath”. 

Poppy Grace - Carly and Tresne lose daughter to leukemia
Source: GoFundMe

Carly and Tresne have broken the news of Poppy’s passing via their Instagram and GoFundMe page.

It breaks our hearts that we have this news to share. At 4:20am on Thursday 16th Feb we lost our precious baby Poppy Grace. This morning we lost our precious baby Poppy Grace..

Poppy showed us what it is to be grateful and happy with whatever cards you are dealt. She made the most of her time on earth, dancing, giggling and smiling right until days from the end. She was loving and funny and nurturing. She was clever and empathetic. She had a heart of gold and she shone so brightly, oozing joy. We felt honoured to be her mums and we didn’t take a second of that for granted, not a second. She taught us so very much in her short 20 months and we have never experienced a love as all encompassing.

Poppy’s brave battle

Carly and Tresne, who appeared on the fifth season of My Kitchen Rules, married in 2011 and have been together since 2006. 

Carly and Tresne with Poppy
Carly and Tresne with their beautiful baby girl. Source: Instagram

Poppy is the first child of the couple. She was born on 2 June 2021. At just 12 weeks old Poppy was diagnosed with Infant Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Her diagnosis came as a major shock as her only symptom was vomiting. 

“Since then Poppy has had 29 lumbar punctures and 6 MRI’s under general anaesthetic. She has been through 96 rounds of chemotherapy and countless doses of various steroids in 5 different protocols culminating in her failed Bone Marrow Transplant on April 4th 2022,” Poppy’s mums shared on Instagram. 

mum central
Full of love and smiles. Source: Instagram

‘A beacon of hope for us’

Throughout Poppy’s journey, Carly and Tresne have been by their daughter’s side, sharing videos of their beautiful little girl as she grew up in John Hunter Hospital.

Most of Poppy’s life was spent in the hospital and due to COVID restrictions, often behind a glass door. In total, Poppy spend 549 days in treatment and just 139 days at home. 

Poppy Grace - Carly and Tresne daughter dies of leukemia
Source: Instagram

However, the family made the very most of their precious time together with one final visit to the beach in early February. 

Poppy has demonstrated time and time again how unbelievably strong and resilient she is. She is an inspiration and beacon of hope for us daily.”

‘We all thought she would make it’ 

The heartbroken mums are coming to terms with this devastating loss, sharing the news with Poppy’s many supporters who follow Poppy’s journey. 

We are so sorry we have to share this with you all…We know there were so many children, teens and adults alike following her journey and we don’t want to hurt their beautiful hearts.

Please tell them that Poppy’s star is shining brightly above them encouraging them to be strong when handed adversity, and to make the most of life and all its sparkling opportunities.

We all thought she would make it. It seems like a terrible nightmare that we will not wake up beside her, that we will have no more Poppy updates to share.

There is just so much that she was never able to experience and we will always wonder what she would have shown us in childhood, adolescence and adulthood.”

The mum also started the Poppy Grace Lifebood Group to encourage those to donate blood and have promised to “rise up for Poppy” again, with time and healing. 

We will Rise Up again for Poppy- we don’t know what that looks like yet- we are lost and our purpose is gone.

But we’ll be back soon and we will live life to the fullest in her honour…Until then we will rest so we can Rise Up for our Poppy, forever 20 months old.”

Our hearts go out to Carly and Tresne. RIP Poppy Grace. Poppy’s celebration of life is today. To support Carly, Tresne and Poppy Grace, please consider donating blood, platelets, or plasma to Poppy Grace’s Lifeblood Team. #RiseUpforPoppy

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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