On November 4, 2023, Amazon Playmakers and the Starlight Children’s Foundation released a Christmas video featuring ARIA award-winning Coodjinburra singer Budjerah and the late Johnny Ruffo to raise money for the children’s charity.
The clip features Budjerah and Johnny doing a rendition of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) along with seven Starlight kids who have been appointed by Amazon as official toy testers.
For every view of music video across Amazon Australia’s channels throughout the holiday period, Amazon Australia will donate $1 to Starlight up to $100,000.
The video, which features Budjerah’s smooth vocals and Johnny on the xylophone, comes just weeks after the Home and Away actor succumbed to brain cancer on November 10.
“The opportunity to work with the Playmakers is so important to me as I am a family man and can see everything Starlight does to support families and bring children happiness. This is why performing with the Amazon Playmakers was one of the best days I’ve ever had, the kids had so much fun and had huge smiles on their faces the whole time,” Budjerah said of the collaboration.
Matthew Benham, General Manager at Amazon Australia said of the Starlight collaboration, “We have been appointing Playmakers to test our top 100 toys since 2019 and one thing that has remained constant since we began, is Johnny Ruffo and his passionate commitment.
“He will be sorely missed and we feel humbled to have had him feature as part of the music video with the kids.
“We thank Johnny’s family for letting us share this video to hopefully deliver joy to more kids across the country, something Johnny was so committed to.”
Speaking at the time of filming, the late actor and singer spoke about how special it is to be involved in the project.
“Being part of this campaign for so many years, you would think I wouldn’t be surprised by what these kids can do but they continue to surprise me with their creativity.
“I was particularly excited to see the kids in action in the music video as being a singer myself, it was so incredible to see the joy it brought them.”
Johnny’s family confirmed on November 10 that the actor passed away following a lengthy battle with brain cancer.
“It is with a heavy heart that today we had to farewell our beloved Johnny,” the Instagram post read.
“Surrounded by his partner Tahnee and family, Johnny went peacefully with the support of some incredible Nurses & Doctors.
“He was a very talented, charming and sometimes cheeky boy. Johnny was very determined and had a strong will. He battled all the way to the end and fought as hard as he could. Such a beautiful soul with so much more to give.”
Johnny first revealed that he had been diagnosed with brain cancer and had to undergo surgery to remove a brain tumour in 2017. Then, two years later in 2019, he revealed his cancer was in remission.
But sadly, in November 2020, Johnny shared that his brain cancer had returned, and in August 2022, he candidly shared with fans that his cancer was terminal.