By Naomi Gibson and Peter Douglas
Montrose-born inspirational author Heather Hawkins officially launched her book at the Montrose Town Centre on Saturday 2 September.
In front of her ‘home crowd’, Hawkins’ book, ‘Adventurous Spirit’, tells the incredible story of Hawkins’ diagnosis with ovarian cancer and subsequent surgery, which she has used as a catalyst to achieve some truly phenomenal feats.
At 44, she completed her Surf Lifesaving Bronze Medal, before at 47 putting on an old pair of runners and completing the Mother’s Day fun run with her kids, which proved to be a “light bulb moment”.
Hawkins now has 18 marathons under her belt, taking out first place in the Women’s Division – and eighth overall (beating 27 men) – in the 2015 North Pole Marathon, which was held in temperatures of minus 41 degrees.
She also became the first Australian woman to be a member of the Intercontinental Marathon Club, when she completed the World Marathon Challenge – an incredible seven marathons in seven days on seven continents.
Despite all these incredible achievements, Hawkins told the ‘Mail’ she is “just an ordinary mum from the suburbs”, who just happened to grow up in Montrose.
“I feel incredibly blessed for my family and to have been raised by two amazing parents who inspire me every day,” she said.
“Putting pen to paper is something that started to come more naturally to me since my cancer diagnosis. Keeping a journal was a way for me to decompress my thoughts and are a great thing to look back on now.”
Hawkins said she never dreamed these precious journal entries would one day be shared across the country.
She recalled back in 2007, when she and her husband, Doug, were juggling work and family life, their life was thrown into chaos.
Doug said her diagnosis had been a huge shock for the family.
“Heather and I were so busy with our business and taking the kids to school, just going about day-to-day life, keeping up with our demanding schedule,” he said.
“Heather had been suffering from discomfort and wasn’t quite feeling herself.
“With her background in nursing, Heather knew something wasn’t quite right … by the end of the day, she received the news she had been dreading.
“We knew it must be bad, as our family doctor was in tears.
“What was a normal day of school drop-offs and work meetings had turned into dealing with a shock ovarian cancer diagnosis.”
Through the book, Hawkins reveals how she completely reassessed what was important to her, and that her passion for fitness and health became stronger than ever.
Her running spark came after five cancer-free years, in 2012 and aged 47.
Entering into the Mother’s Day Classic with her two children, Hawkins said: “I can remember it like it was yesterday. That was a huge light bulb moment … something clicked for me and I haven’t looked back.”
To purchase the book, or to find out more about Hawkins’ journey, visit www.adventurousspirit.com.au.