Why I put my hand up to be a Gawler Foundation advocateby Autumn Tansey

Why I put my hand up to be a Gawler Foundation advocate

By Autumn Tansey

Living Well Magazine Winter 2014

I have just one reason  for sharing this story… I would not be here living this well, if it wasn’t for my experience at The Gawler Foundation.

At age 22, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Yes. Bowel cancer. Old man disease.

Surgery, followed by chemotherapy, left me so broken I didn’t know what life meant anymore.


My dear Aunty, in all her wisdom offered me all that she herself had researched and learnt at The Gawler Foundation. I had seen how much it had impacted her life but I was reluctant.

I didn’t want anything to change.

I wanted to go back to the life I was living before cancer. But that was never going to happen.

So with the tremendous support of my aunt, family and friends, I attended the Life & Living 10 day retreat at the foundation’s Yarra Valley Living Centre.

This is where my true healing began, because in that short time, I went from a fearful and broken human, to an empowered and broken human. Yes still broken. What I learnt was that there was no quick fix, but that I have choice. I didn’t leave there miraculously healed, but I left empowered, with the courage and tools to continue healing.

And from this one retreat, my life was returned to me.

I have since attended two other retreats, the 5 day Cancer and Beyond follow up, which was a fantastic boost of support and encouragement, and the Meditation Teacher Training, to pay it forward and share the incredible effect that  all of these experiences and practices have had on my life.

I am now 25, young, healthy, fit and living well. I eat mostly plants, I practise and teach yoga and meditation, I write and express myself creatively, and every single day, I am grateful for this beautiful life, in all its colours and shades.