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Major Hugo

Army Major, Founder of 25 STAY ALIVE, a Two-Time Cancer Survivor & Mental Health Advocate


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Life is precious, don't take it for granted.


Yes, you can face multiple life-threatening diseases and still share your story with grace and humour in order to help others. Hugo Toovey is a young Army Major, Founder of 25 STAY ALIVE, a two-time Cancer Survivor and a Mental Health Advocate.

If you didn’t know Hugo, you would assume that he was your typical everyday young Australian. And yes, from the outside, he appears to be exactly that. However, the last 10 years of his life have been everything BUT normal. He is missing a testicle, part of his reproductive system, all of his abdominal lymph nodes, his large bowel, his rectum and part of his small bowel.

Not only has Hugo survived both testicular cancer and bowel cancer, but he has also had ongoing battles with his mental health. Yet despite all of this, he is more determined than ever to use what he has gone through to save lives.

Hugo is also a proud ambassador for Movember, Gotcha4Life and the Jodi Lee Foundation - furthering his commitment to improving mental health and cancer awareness.

Talking Points

A Journey of Resilience and Transformation

A poignant keynote that chronicles Hugo's decade-long battle with two cancers, revealing profound personal growth and resilience. Attendees will be inspired by Hugo's unwavering determination and courage, gaining insights into cultivating their own resilience in the face of adversity.

The transformative power of hardship will be a central theme, offering a roadmap for personal and professional growth. This presentation will empower the audience with practical strategies to overcome challenges, providing tangible tools to apply in their own lives.

Key Takeaways:
1. Resilience in the Face of Adversity: Discover Hugo's inspiring journey, cultivating insights into navigating personal and professional challenges with strength and courage.
2. Transformative Power of Hardship: Learn how adversity can lead to profound personal and professional growth, offering a roadmap for transformative change.
3. Practical Strategies for Overcoming Challenges: Gain practical tools from Hugo's experiences to navigate obstacles, empowering individuals to overcome challenges and thrive personally and professionally.

The audience will have a renewed perspective, fostering a positive and resilient organisational culture that can adapt and thrive in the face of challenges.

Don't Wait Until It's Too Late

A compelling keynote presentation that underscores the critical importance of proactive engagement with both physical and mental health. Drawing from his personal experiences, Hugo emphasises the life-saving impact of early detection & prevention. The presentation also outlines the A.L.I.V.E Framework, urging individuals to Act on Symptoms, Look after themselves, Initiate conversations, Visit their GP, and Express their emotions. These 5 principles are a roadmap to saving lives.

Key Takeaways:

1. Proactive Health Engagement: Learning from Hugo's experiences, attendees will gain a heightened awareness of the significance of proactive health measures.

2. ALIVE Framework: The ALIVE Framework provides practical steps for individuals to implement in their daily lives, empowering them to Act on Symptoms, Look after themselves, Initiate conversations, Visit their GP, and Express their emotions. This framework will lead to people living happier, healthier & longer lives.

3. Emphasis on Early Detection: The presentation highlights the life-saving impact of early detection, prompting attendees to recognise the value of timely intervention in maintaining and safeguarding their health... and not waiting until it's too late.

This presentation will not only contribute to individual well-being but also has the potential to minimise absenteeism and cultivate a more engaged and productive workforce.

The Courage to Lead: Harnessing Vulnerability for Stronger Leadership

Major Hugo Toovey of the Australian Army shares a powerful narrative about how his health challenges have shaped him into a stronger leader. The presentation explores the contagious nature of vulnerability and its transformative impact on team dynamics, emphasising the importance of leading with authenticity. Hugo highlights how some of the most impactful leaders in the Army are those who embrace vulnerability, fostering empathy and resilience in times of crisis.

Key Takeaways:

1. Courageous Leadership by Example: Attendees will be inspired by Hugo's journey, gaining insights into the transformative power of vulnerability in leadership. The presentation illustrates how vulnerability can serve as a catalyst for courage, leading to stronger and more authentic leadership.

2. Contagious Vulnerability: Hugo's experiences underscore how vulnerability can be contagious, encouraging open communication and fostering a culture where team members feel empowered to share their experiences. Leaders will leave with practical strategies to cultivate openness and support within their teams.

3. Leading with Empathy and Resilience: The presentation provides a deeper understanding of effective leadership during times of crisis. Hugo's insights into leading with empathy, resilience, and authenticity equip the audience with tangible skills to navigate challenges, fostering a positive and resilient organizational culture.

This presentation will contribute to a positive organisational culture, improved team dynamics, and heightened effectiveness in navigating complex situations.

Empowering Voices: A Journey Through Patient Advocacy

"Empowering Voices" immerses attendees in the profound journey of patient advocacy through the compelling decade-long odyssey of Hugo. Amidst a relentless battle against testicular cancer, bowel cancer, and Crohn's disease, Hugo shares his transformative experiences, marked by numerous surgeries, ongoing treatments, hospital visits, and intricate specialist interactions. This keynote underscores the enduring resilience demonstrated throughout a decade of health challenges, emphasizing the pivotal role of storytelling and lived experience in navigating the complexities of healthcare. Hugo's narrative becomes a powerful testament to the enduring strength of the human spirit in the face of a multitude of health adversities.

Key Takeaways:

1. The Transformative Power of Storytelling: Witness the profound impact of storytelling as Hugo shares his personal journey. Attendees will leave with an appreciation for the transformative influence of personal narratives in empowering patients within the healthcare system.

2. Patient-Centred Advocacy: Hugo's advocacy journey becomes a guiding narrative, offering insights into patient-centred advocacy. The audience gains a deeper understanding of the importance of amplifying patient voices and their role in advocating for themselves and others.

3. Navigating Healthcare Challenges: Gain practical insights into navigating the complexities of healthcare, from interacting with various specialists to coping with surgeries and mental health battles. Attendees, including healthcare professionals, will leave with valuable perspectives to enhance patient care.

Tangible outcomes include improved patient-provider communication, enhanced patient empowerment, and a more compassionate and patient-centric healthcare approach fostered by the shared insights from Hugo's experiences.

Mind Matters: Unleashing the Power of Mental Fitness

In "Mind Matters," Hugo unveils a powerful exploration of mental fitness, drawing from personal battles with testicular and bowel cancer, Crohn's disease, and the poignant loss of his best mate to suicide. Through a deeply personal narrative, Hugo reveals the emotional toll of neglecting mental health during physical health battles. The keynote introduces the ALIVE Framework, emphasising social connectedness, enhanced support networks, and the importance of mental fitness.

Key Takeaways:

1. Prioritizing Mental Fitness: Attendees will gain a profound understanding of the importance of mental fitness, learning from Hugo's personal journey. The presentation highlights the emotional toll of neglecting mental health during physical health challenges and underscores the imperative of prioritising mental well-being.

2. ALIVE Framework for Mental Health: The ALIVE Framework becomes a focal point, offering practical strategies for mental health. Through social connectedness, enhanced support networks, and a focus on mental fitness, attendees will leave with tangible tools to integrate into their lives for improved mental well-being.

3. Addressing Mental Health Stigma: Hugo's poignant journey, marked by the loss of his best mate to suicide, initiates a crucial dialogue about mental health stigma. Attendees will not only gain valuable insights into recognizing the silent struggles individuals may endure but will also be empowered to actively challenge and dismantle mental health stigma.

The presentation aims to inspire a collective commitment toward fostering a more compassionate, understanding, and supportive community—one that encourages open conversations about mental health and ensures that no one suffers in silence.
Highly engaging and simply outstanding. Morgan Stanley

Hugo shared one of the most inspirational and engaging stories I’ve ever heard.


Hugo shared a very personal, powerful and inspiring story that provided the team a strong sense of hope, comfort and purpose. He strikes deep empathy in making sure people learn from his experiences, and I have no doubt he will leave a legacy of awareness, care and optimism amongst our team.

Foxtel Media

Let's talk, enquire with Nina now

Nina Smaniotto

Senior Consultant

Let's talk, enquire with Nina now

Nina Smaniotto

Senior Consultant

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