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National Organisation for FASD Australia

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NOFASD Australia would like to acknowledge the contribution which Bonnie Buxton has made to the world of FASD over many years. Sadly, Bonnie, Brian and family are facing a serious challenge due to Bonnie’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. A letter from Bonnie’s husband Brian Philcox is below, because Bonnie has many friends throughout the FASD world who will be saddened to hear of this news.

The Founder of NOFASD Australia, Sue Miers, credits Bonnie and Brian with her knowledge and inspiration following the contact she made with them more than 20 years ago. Sue was sure that her foster daughter was living with FASD, but at that time in Australia there was no-one able to provide her with any information about the condition. Bonnie and Brian facilitated Sue’s early FASD education, networks and ultimately a diagnosis for her daughter.

NOFASD, the National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in Australia, credits Bonnie and Brian for this guidance and support. We hope that Bonnie and her family draw some comfort from the knowledge that they have changed many lives around the world. Additionally, Bonnie came up with the idea for the 9th of September as International FASD Awareness Day. This day of recognition and awareness raising for FASD is now a global movement which extends across the whole month of September.

 For those who know Bonnie there is a chance to send her your thoughts. For those who did not know Bonnie, she is a FASD pioneer and we acknowledge her legacy and contribution. Please read Brian’s letter below.

Dear Friends,

Bonnie Buxton has been my companion, my mentor, my partner in parenting and the love of my life for over half a century. As the writer of television plays, print articles about the human condition, award winning travel and food reporting, and as a radio and television reporter, Bonnie has brought new insights to the public throughout her professional career. Her skills as a writer have only been matched by her passionate caring as an accomplished wife, mother of Cleo and Colette and grandmother to Kenny and Vicky.

For more than twenty years, Bonnie has been a formidable advocate on behalf of children and their parents who struggle with the devastating results of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure. Her incisive articles and keynote presentations over these years have touched the hearts of many families and given them the hope they need to carry on. Her book, Damaged Angels, continues to provide guiding themes for parents and professionals alike. As a co-founder of FASDay, now celebrated every year on September 9 in over 62 countries in every time zone around the world, Bonnie has given us an advocacy challenge for FASD that is hard to beat.

However, the latest chapter in the Bonnie saga is, unfortunately, not an encouraging one. In October of 2016, Bonnie was diagnosed with Dementia. Typically, she raged, “What the hell is this? I’m not an axe murderer!” But the memory deficits and other confusions were the precursor of Alzheimer Disease. For a couple of years she was able to work on her memoirs and lead a relatively normal life, sharing social events, travel and conversations with friends and family. More recently, the disease has reached a stage where much logical discourse is not possible. However, it’s not too late should you want to reach out to say hello. She has been touched by so many wonderful friendships that it would be a shame if I did not let you know that there is still time to have a gentle farewell.

Please let me know if you would like to call or send her a note – my email is at your disposal ( Thank you for your friendship.

Best regards,


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14 Responses

  1. I didn’t know Bonnie, but I too had a brother with Alzheimer’s who passed away 3 years ago. It is tough to watch, and a blessing when peace comes and know our Savior has his arms wrapped around and Bonnie all of the time. He will see you through and help you down the road, hiding you and Bonnie. We adopted two of our great-grandchildren with FASD and have another granddaughter with the Life sentence. Thanks to you and Bonnie, we can all call September our month of awareness. Prayers and blessings for the family as you struggle with this dastardly disease. Bonnie is in a world of her own, and that is what makes Alzheimer’s so difficult for the families who are trying to care and understand.

    1. Bonnie is my inspiration, my first encounter of understanding FASD was when I was encouraged to read the book, “Damaged Angels.”
      Although some would say not everyone with FASD would face this same destination as her daughter had, it gave me purpose to fight against the potential.
      Bonnie’s idea for the 9th of September as International FASD Awareness Day has been instrumental in a private members bill being legislated and passed. This has also instigated the movement of other municipalities throughout Ontario to recognize and celebrate this important day.
      Bonnie was also involved in a very important bill named “Sandy’s Law” a sign that is to be hung in establishments that sell alcohol.
      I will be forever grateful for the tireless advocacy Bonnie demonstrated. Brian & Bonnie are the truly the grandparents of the FASD community.

      1. I advocate for 2 boys in their 20’s who were just FASD DX this year. I want to thank you Bonnie for your dedication and support for FASD. Spreading the FASD Awareness and educating so many in FASD. You are an amazing, inspirational lady. Jan Vandyk

  2. Thank you Bonnie and Brian, as a Carer for a girl now 17 who has FASD and all that goes with the diagnosis, can I just tell you that when she came to us at 2 yrs old, we were stunned, by her gait, her aggression/ anger and her unlimited energy.

    No diagnosis was given, no one knew how to support us…no mans land was how we felt….then I was told about training two hours away in a small country town and the moment the presenter talked the more excited I became….she has FASD….and now we could research ( I believe the internet was our saving grace, I could print off copies and I gave the info to Doctors, teachers etc.

    Our young lad is now nearly 18, she is happy, kind, courageous, outgoing ( with no boundaries), and gives all that know her joy and laughter.

    So Thank You, Thank You, without your tenacity, commitment and unwavering determination, our girl, would not have the life she has without the “I wonder” moment you had and the battle you endured to raise awareness of FASD.

    From a Carer who lives in Central Queensland (with minimal support available) I applaud you and all your supporters……you have enriched all of our lives…..God Bless

  3. Hi Bonnie and Brian
    I am a relative foster carer in Adelaide South Australia. I have cared for my sister’s grandson who was diagnosed in 2014 with FASD. If it wasn’t for the connection and support of Sue Miers and NOFASD along our journey I don’t know where we would be. My understanding and learning is still occurring and I have joined your FASD army and become a strong advocate in raising awareness and understanding also. I am paying it forward and I often do this along side Sue and others from NOFASD. So thank you so much for what you have done in this area.

    April W

  4. Hello Bonnie. This is wonderful to see so many deserving words coming your way! Over been many years I have learned from you, and have drawn inspiration to follow in your footsteps doing the work so badly needed with FASD. Thinking of you, Brian and your whole family.


  5. Both Bonnie and Brian have made an amazing contribution to the field and to families dealing with FASD. They have touched me and helped me reach others throughout the years, always sharing their articles and research findings as well as stories. My prayers go out to them both.

  6. Dear Bonnie (and Brian):
    We have never met but I feel I know you through reading about and following your life’s story. Bonnie, you are a pioneer, an amazing woman before your time, and have helped me and thousands of other people around the world. I wish to say thank you. My healing thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  7. Dear Bonnie and Brian
    Your innovative tenacity led the way for a beginning international cohesive awareness of FASD – your efforts changed outcomes for future generations. Thank you

  8. “For those of us in the trenches with FASD in the early years, long before the research had bubbled to the surface of the mass consciousness, Bonnie (and you Brian) were the first responders. I am ever in gratitude for your dedication to increase awareness of FASD’s and will always, always be inspired by your great commitment to make a difference in the world.

  9. You got me through the early years of facing a heart wrenching but necessary and in time helpful diagnosis of my daughter who was 25 years old. Your book describes the challenges of coming to terms with the perception I had to absorb that behaviour is a symptom. This has altered how I interpret the actions everyone who acts against their own interests. The immense power of this has not only healed my relationship with my daughter while changing the trajectory of her life from addict to mother and wife but it has given me a bigger heart overall. I am one very happy grandmother thanks to you!

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