Petrea King, CEO & Founder of the Quest for Life Foundation, writes about her personal experiences with trauma and how your donations to Quest’s Christmas Appeal provide the gift of hope and healing. Your donations will provide services to people affected by trauma, and individuals in communities affected by natural disasters.
It was four decades ago this year that I was told I wouldn’t see Christmas due to acute myeloid leukaemia. My children were aged four and seven. I had just separated from my occasionally violent husband. My beloved brother had died by suicide in the previous months.
I know what it’s like to be overwhelmed by life and its complexities, trauma, illness, despair, and grief. I was fortunate to be given a safe place in which to heal from the past, build resilience for the future and learn to live more skilfully in the present.
When you nearly die – and then you don’t – you know that happiness is not about the ‘stuff’ of life. What gives me joy is witnessing the transformation that takes place when people recognise that they are not helpless victims of their circumstances.
When I see our participants unburden themselves and then take on – with such courage – the tools, skills and strategies we share with them, it gives me joy, meaning and purpose in my life. I feel so grateful that I’ve been able to ‘pay it forward’ – and that’s because the kindness of a stranger made it possible for me to heal.
With the festive season fast approaching, are you able to pay it forward to someone in need of Quest’s care, support and education? By donating to our Christmas Appeal, you’re helping people to grow through life’s biggest challenges, giving people the gift of hope, healing and peace of mind.
This in turn ripples out to create a more compassionate society that supports, inspires and encourages every one of us to live our best life.
“The Moving Beyond Trauma program had a profound effect on my mind, body, and spirit. For the first time in 40 years, I feel I can truly be still, calm and at peace. Life has turned from dread to hope.”Jessica, August 2023
The last four years has challenged all of us to dig deep and find our personal resilience. Confronted by a series of global crises, local challenges, financial hardship and soaring cost-of-living, many people have faced the loss of their businesses, careers, or income – and their physical or mental health has suffered greatly.
Personal challenges, such as coping with grief, receiving a serious illness diagnosis, or enduring the trauma of bushfires and floods and the subsequent rebuilding process, have added to the collective difficulties many have had to overcome.
These are the people and communities that Quest assists to find practical ways of navigating such challenges. With the help of compassionate people like you, we can continue to deliver life-enhancing support to people in need.
The difference you make
I meet participants when they arrive at our Centre on a Monday, their faces often drawn with worry, anxiety and distress. Sometimes, they cannot make eye contact. Others dissolve into tears as they enter our driveway knowing that they’ve finally arrived somewhere where they’ll be nurtured, restored and cared for.
By the end of the week, the same people are sometimes unrecognisable. Their faces have softened and relaxed, they’re smiling, full of hope and ready to face the world again feeling nurtured, educated and at peace. They return home with practical tools, strategies and skills to live each day well and create life-long healing, peace and resilience.
Quest’s self-help programs at our residential Centre in Bundanoon and our community-based workshops encourage, educate, and empower people to improve their resilience and peace of mind during their most challenging moments.
“All I can say – the program at Quest literally saved my life. I’m forever grateful.”Christo, 2018
As a charity, we rely on donations to subsidise the cost of our services. Your donation assists people in need of support by contributing to the cost of their attendance on our residential programs. Donations are also used to fund our community workshops in regional areas affected by drought, floods, fire or other disaster.
A lasting impact: assisting individuals, families, and communities to heal
“I attended a program following 5+ years of extreme physical and emotional stress. I arrived empty, literally and figuratively. It’s no exaggeration to say that Quest saved my life. Now, 7 years later, I’m living my best life ever. I’m forever grateful to Petrea, her team and my wonderful friend for connecting me to Quest.”Michelle, 2016
Over 125,000 people have attended our face-to-face services and many more have benefitted through Quest’s online courses and social media. We know that unexpected and unthinkable things can, and do, happen. Quest takes a whole-person and recovery-oriented approach to establishing wellbeing, utilising the latest research into neuroscience and epigenetics along with evidence-based approaches to health, healing, and post-traumatic growth.
Most of us aren’t open to change until we feel that our suffering is deeply acknowledged. We all need someone who ‘gets’ us – that people understand our feelings of despair or defeat; they understand why we’re behaving the way we are.
People who are struggling with some unexpected trauma in their lives are so grateful for the kindness and warmth they feel when they attend a Quest program or workshop.
“I’ve never experienced such genuine kindness in my life. For the first time, I’ve felt seen and heard. This program gave me something that I saw as impossible.”Frank, March 2023
Our excellent outcomes reflect how effective our programs are in improving the health and wellbeing of our participants.
- 68% of people who attend a Quest program live with anxiety
- 54% experience depression
- 51% suffer with sleep issues
- 50% are generally stressed.
For example, participants from the Moving Beyond Trauma program experience a 24% improvement in quantified mental wellbeing one month after the program – and this figure continues to rise over the following 6 months as participants implement the strategies, tools and skills they learn on a program.
Will you give others a brighter future?
We need connection, supportive communities, education, and kindness to heal and flourish. Please help us to assist people on limited incomes, people doing it tough, or people in need of respite after a natural disaster by donating towards the cost of them attending a program. Your donation will also be used to deliver community workshops in rural, remote or regional areas.
We’re committed to making our services available for everyone in need, regardless of financial circumstances. Please Donate and help us help people and communities in need.
Ways to Donate
- Call us on 02 4883 6599
- Direct Debit Remit to: National Australia Bank Ltd (NAB)
BSB: 082476 Account: 573751856 Account name: Quest for Life Foundation
Include your name as reference and contact us so we can issue a tax-deductible receipt
- Online: Go to questforlife.org.au/donations
I wish you a gentle end to 2023. Whatever you do to replenish yourself, please ensure that those activities remain your priority. We all yearn for peace, connection and to feel our life has meaning and purpose; that our life contributes to the happiness of other people. I imagine that is what gives you joy in your life – as it does for me.
If you’re able to pay it forward to people who struggle with their mental or physical health challenges, please be assured your donation is gratefully received. I hope you feel the same joy that I do knowing that your support will make a profound and positive difference to other people, their families and the communities in which they live.
Thank you for your donation. Your support is deeply appreciated. May you be blessed with a joyous festive season and a 2024 full of harmony and peace.
CEO and Founder
Quest for Life Foundation