By Pip Cornall
A determination to tell the accurate version about Australia’s most famous recovered cancer patient, Ian Gawler, and to uphold ethical standards for therapists at the Gawler Foundation she co-directed, have cost Grace Gawler dearly.
Few people knew what happened when Grace Gawler disappeared from the Gawler Foundation along with her regular media appearances. Horrendously ill just days after her marriage abruptly ended, she found herself in the position of many of her patients. But unbelievably she was without support! With three children at home her financial struggle now began and her survival was severely threatened. Remarkably even twenty severe surgeries over the next 13 years and compromised finances has not damaged her spirit and has only empowered her work with cancer patients. This test in overcoming adversity enabled her to ‘walk a mile in cancer patients shoes.’
In the short space of time immediately post marriage, all forms of adversity slammed Grace. Soon, even her best selling book, Women of Silence, had its contract rescinded and copyright returned. Next, Grace found herself silenced by the media in Australia. In contrasts, while visiting overseas for life saving operations between 2002 -5, Grace experienced no such media silence and lectured in England, Ireland, and Holland to full and enthusiastic audiences.
Beating the Silence in The Age, 2007, was the only significant media coverage Grace has been able to secure since leaving the Gawler Foundation until the recent Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) 2010 article and somewhat sensationalized coverage in the Australian on Frid, 8, 2010. The Age article, Beating the Silence tells more of Grace’s remarkable journey.
As Hemingway said …’Courage is Grace under pressure’ Nothing could be more accurate about Grace’s tenacity over decades to correct inaccurate versions of the story she was so intimately involved win. The driving force was a moral imperative that cancer patients need accurate information on which to make treatment decisions.
Max Awarenness: Video – Women of Silence – An interview with Grace Gawler on Breast Cancer and Emotional healing.