Petrea King is CEO of the Quest for Life Foundation which she established in 1989. She is a well-known author, inspirational keynote speaker, teacher and facilitator. She is also qualified as a naturopath, herbalist, clinical hypnotherapist, yoga and meditation teacher. In 1983 Petrea was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and was not expected to live. Meditation and the integration of past traumatic experiences, including the recent suicide of her brother Brenden, became paramount in her recovery, much of which was spent in a monastery near Assisi in Italy. She has been meditating since the age of 17. Petrea has a long history of living with chronic pain after undergoing twelve major surgeries to her legs to enable her to walk as a young teenager and further surgeries as an adult. She is at the forefront of wellness education and is a frequent lecturer at medical and other conferences. Petrea sees crisis as a catalyst for personal growth and understanding and as an opportunity for healing and peace. She has received the Advance Australia Award, Citizen of the Year and the Centenary Medal for her contribution to the community and has been nominated for Australian of the year each year since 2003 as well as being a NSW finalist for Senior Australian of the Year in 2011. Petrea has written eight best-selling books and produced more than a dozen relaxation and meditation practices on CD, including one for children, Rainbow Connection. Frequently featured in the media, Petrea has been a regular guest on Richard Glover’s Mid-Week Conference and Tony Delroy’s Nightlife on ABC radio for thirteen years. In 2003 she was celebrated on Channel 9’s This Is Your Life and has been featured on Australian Story, Compass and many other television productions. Since 1989 Quest for Life retreats and workshops have helped more than ninety thousand people living with cancer, chronic illness and pain and other life-challenging illnesses, grief, loss, depression, trauma and tragedy. These programs provide participants with a proven, effective and holistic approach to creating physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing.
In 2012 Petrea and Coralie met and they understood that it was time to create a powerful program for people living with chronic pain and this ran in April 2013 at the Quest for Life retreat centre in Bundanoon.
Petrea has become an Ambassador for Chronic Pain Australia and people living with chronic pain.
Amanda trained at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Her career in Australia span's 28 years' working in all media including theatre, film, TV and radio. She has appeared in leading roles for practically every major theatre company and most leading entrepreneurs. She has won several very significant awards, for Shirley Valentine, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (Norman Kessell Award), for Miss Hannigan in Annie (Colleen Clifford Award), Maria Callas in Master Class (a Green Room Award and a Robert Helpmann Award for best actress), and a second Helpmann Award for Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical for her role as Mercedes Cortez in the Australian Musical, Eureka! Amanda has just been nominated for an AFI Award for 'Best Guest or Supporting Actress In A Television Drama' (2008), for her role of Kathy Booth for Network Seven's City Homicide. She is best remembered for her portrayal of Chrissie Latham in Prisoner and Connie Ryan in Richmond Hill, as well as for appearances in A Country Practice, Cop Shop, Holiday Island, Headland, Peter And Pompey, Sweet & Sour, Willing And Able, Women Of The Sun and Sara Dane.
Amanda's life on stage is extremely active and demanding. During her career she has experienced disabling and worrisome chronic pain for which she has needed help from time to time. She now manages her pain well and is happy to speak out for those people distressed and isolated by chronic pain.
Alison Thomson OAM
Alison speaks out for Chronic Pain Australia - she knows about the devastation of long term pain, being an aid worker in devastated parts of the world. Last year she won an OAM for her aid work around the world. Alison wrote this letter back home early in 2010:
Hi mum and dad
I won’t be around when they announce my award on January 26th. I am with Sean Penn, diana jenkins, Oscar and 15 doctors embedded in the 82 airbourne ( USA) Dante would describe it as hell here. There is no food and wAter and hundreds dying daily. The aid is all bottlenecked and not reaching here . The other day i assisted with amputation ( holding them down) while they used a saw to cut a young boys leg off with no pain killers. Today I went with a strike force and army patrol in hummers into the streets and walked 5 miles through the camps set up on every street corner ..sewage and bodies stench is everywhere. As i attend to a patient 30 people crowd around me and it’s hard to breath. I nearly fainted today as the sewage smell went straight down my throat. I went white and dizzy but couldn’t sit down as sewage is running through the streets. There is much infection and it feels like the job is too big. No antibiotics anywhere.
Good news, today our new york doctors evacuated 18 patients with spinal injuries out to miami and we’re all so excited. Our mash unit is in the 82 air base overlooking a refugee camp of over 50000 people. The refugees start singing Christian songs at 4 am and line up for food until the army hands it out at 8 am ( thats if there is any food).On the first night I was in the nearby jungle camping under the stars with my team and woke up to the beautiful music drawing me to them. I thought it was a church and we went to find it and came across the 82 airbourne camp and the refugee camp.( that’s how we ended up here) as it wasn’t safe to stay where we were even though we had our own security force. We are totally self suffient with food gas and medicines and have a private donor (Diana Jenkins who was a refugee in camps in Bosnia as a child – her family died of starvation in the camps. ) Sean Penn is here purely as a volunteer and is cutting through bureaucracy to get aid moving and food water and medicines to the people. There is no agenda but to save lives. Helicopters fly over head and it feels like vietnam. That night 50,000 people sung me to sleep and they sing every night for the world to save them. There is always hope but she’s not here right now.
The Leader – Australia Day Honours : Haiti Worker is Honoured - by Monica Leary
IN THE middle of the rubble and human misery of Haiti there could be a little pocket of celebration when Cronulla aid worker Alison Thompson officially receives her Order of Australia Medal (OAM).The medal is for the former teacher’s humanitarian aid work, particularly in the Peraliya region of Sri Lanka, in the post-tsunami trauma of late 2004. Now her proud parents are understandably worried about their daughter’s presence in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. More