Heather Armstrong’s quest for Gold

Tracey Dearing reports: 

It’s not every day that you get to listen to a story that inspires you.

If you haven’t met or heard of Living Choice Kawana Island resident, Heather Armstrong yet, allow me to bring you up to speed. In order to achieve greatness, Heather, an incredible athlete, pushes herself every day. Her story is impactful, raw and beyond captivating.

In 2021, after a three-year wait, Heather was the recipient of a kidney transplant. In Heather’s words, “You are excited about receiving a lifesaving organ, but you also realise that someone must have passed in order for this to happen”.  After enduring a long operation and recovery period, Heather’s life was changed forever.

Heather set her sights on competing at the 2023 World Transplant Games in Perth and recently, the residents of Living Choice Kawana Island and guests attended a fundraiser with money raised from the night assisting Heather with the costs needed to compete. Living Choice also donated funds for the event.

In Heather’s speech to the audience of over 110 people, she thanked everyone for coming and supporting her. She mentioned the constant struggles in her day-to-day life with her health, how she has been sick her whole life, and recounted the story of how her mother Bev Burns, was told at the hospital to go on and have a happy life and not worry about Heather due to her many health issues. However, Bev said she was immensely proud of her daughter, adding that Heather was a determined woman, a perfectionist and wanted to do everything well.

Deb Latouf, Sports Scientist, who makes up half of Heather’s coaching team, said she is yet to work with an athlete who has overcome so many obstacles. “Heather always shows consistency and compliance – she trusts the process and does what we ask her to do, within the constraints of what her body will allow her to do,” she said.

In addition to her training, Heather’s nutrition is well looked after too.

Deb said, “We have a saying in sport which is, `with endurance sports, you can’t outdo a poor diet – you can’t separate nutrition’, so we do nutrition, strength and conditioning, psychology as well as the physiology.  We become 100% invested in the athletes. Lucky for Heather she has a great team of people supporting her.”

With the encouragement of her doctors, Heather will be participating in the cycling – racing 30km on the road, and a 10km time trial. She will be competing against athletes from all over the world, and they will be categorised from novice to elite.

It recalls that old saying, “it takes a village”. Luckily, Heather will have the whole Living Choice village cheering her on!

If you would like to donate to Heather’s fundraiser, please contact Heather at heatherdaisy2@bigpond.com. A direct link from the World Transplant games will be provided where you can make your donation via that link.