Grace Gawler

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Grace Gawler (born 1953) is a naturopath. She is the founder and director of the Grace Gawler Institute for Integrated Cancer Solutions in Queensland, Australia where she provides naturopathic advice and counsel to assist cancer patients make treatment decisions. Gawler also co-founded the Gawler Foundation in the early eighties. An author and public speaker, Gawler is best known for her work in cancer support naturopathy, psycho-oncology and collaborative cancer naturopathy.

Early life[edit]

During high school years, Grace worked part-time at the local veterinary clinic. After leaving school she became a veterinary nurse with the aim of studying veterinary medicine. She also began part-time modelling and, concurrently, her boyfriend and co-worker, veterinary surgeon Ian Gawler, was diagnosed with bone cancer and faced a leg amputation.

Although bone cancer (osteosarcoma) in the 1970s had a grim prognosis, Grace chose to support Ian Gawler, believing he could recover despite his prognosis of a few weeks (late February – early March 1976). She was dedicated to his nutritional care (Gerson Diet) and helped with immunotherapy while Ian focussed on intensive meditation with Ainslie Meares. He continued to deteriorate. During this time, Ian Gawler proposed marriage. His remission, declared in 1978, occurred concurrently with a diagnosis of tuberculosis and the birth of their first child.[1]

The couple moved to Yarra Junction east of Melbourne where they developed cancer support groups, the first in Australia. In 1981 they co-founded the Melbourne Cancer Support Group, a lifestyle-based 12-week self-help program for people with cancer. The program was based on the Gawlers' experiences in bringing about Ian Gawler's recovery.

In 1983, the Gawlers established the Australian Cancer Patients Foundation which became the Gawler Foundation. By then a mother of four (including a child with special needs) and with Ian Gawler in remission, Grace developed an approach for helping women with breast cancer, publishing a book, Women of Silence, in 1994.

Grace resigned her position as co-director of the foundation in 1996.[2] Soon after she founded "Ellimatta" Women's Health. In 1997 she and Ian Gawler separated and were later divorced.

Mid-life[edit]

Gawler experienced a total uterine prolapse. The repair brought unprecedented complications and, over a 13-year period, she underwent 20 major colon procedures with several ileostomies and colostomies performed. In January 2003, an experimental "bionic" implant was trialled. Due to health constraints, regular employment was not practical. While adjustments were being made to her implanted bionic device, Gawler lectured as a gratis speaker in the United Kingdom and continental Europe.

Returning to Australia in 2004, Gawler settled in Brisbane to revive her cancer support work. In 2008, her bionic device failed and a replacement was needed. Unavailable in Australia, she faced an unpleasant death. Funds were raised for restorative surgery in Singapore and she regained good health in late 2009.

In 2010, she founded the Grace Gawler Institute for Integrated Cancer Solutions on Queensland's Gold Coast.

In September 2010, the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) published Gawler's letter in response to a 2008 MJA version of Ian Gawler's recovery. In the letter she disputed several claims, creating much discussion in the medical community.[3]

Career[edit]

In 1979 Gawler studied herbal medicine, nutrition, differential diagnosis, anatomy and physiology and clinical practice theory,[where?] graduating at distinction level in 1986[citation needed]. She added qualifications in pathology, biology and chemistry. During the 1990s she attended many programs in the United States, including training with Ilana Rubenfeld in body-oriented psychotherapy.

From 1996 Gawler served as a complementary medicine representative for several years on a Victorian Government Ministerial Advisory Committee; a creative team attempting to design a new paradigm of healthcare for women.[clarification needed]

In October 1997, Gawler presented a Grand Round for doctors at Monash University about her work with women with breast cancer.[citation needed] In 1998 she was awarded the inaugural Rotary International Jean Harris award for services towards developing women's potential and wellbeing. She has presented numerous lectures and keynote presentations worldwide.

The Grace Gawler Institute has designed workplace programs to help businesses cope with employees with cancer.[4]

Controversy[edit]

In 2009, a former patient contacted Gawler[citation needed] concerned about alleged inaccuracies in an article about Ian Gawler's recovery story in the December 2008 issue of the Medical Journal of Australia.[5] MJA editors invited Gawler to submit evidence of the alleged inaccuracies. After a year of rigorous fact checking,[citation needed] they published her letter on these matters.[6] The letter indicated a number of alleged errors in the article which had implied that Ian Gawler's recovery was attributed to intensive meditation and adherence to a strict vegan diet. Photographic evidence was provided indicating that timelines in the 2008 article were not entirely correct.

Since Gawler's 2010 letter, some of her claims have been agreed to by Ian Gawler.[7] Information in a 2008 biography of Ian Gawler also agrees with her MJA letter regarding dates and timelines.[8] Referring to both Medical Journal of Australia articles about him (1978 and 2008), Ian Gawler stated that "Dr Ainslie Meares reported that I had more severe disease when I first saw him than I actually did, and these timeline errors were carried over into the 2008 follow-up."[9]

Ian Gawler also admitted he had not followed a completely vegan diet.[10] Some Australian researchers hypothesise that TB may have played a significant role in the patient's remission.[11][12][13]

Writings[edit]

Women of Silence (1994)
A Helping Hand (2007)
Grace, Grit and Gratitude – memoirs
Grace Gawler's Survivor's Secrets (eBook)

Sources[edit]

"First Wife Disputes Cancer Guru Ian Gawler’s Survival Story"; The Australian, 8 October 2010

"Providing hope comes with a duty of truth‟; Australian Doctor Editorial, Linda Calabresi, 27 October 2010

"The Case for Lifestyle"; Ian Gawler, Australian Doctor, 17 November 2010

Guy Allenby and Ian Gawler, The Dragon's Blessing, Allen & Unwin, 2008, pages 233–235

References[edit]

  1. ^ Grace, Grit and Gratitude
  2. ^ The Company Director Magazine 2009
  3. ^ MJA, 20 September 2010: "Cancer patients at risk from inaccurate clinical reporting in a high-profile alternative treatment story"
  4. ^ Business Review Weekly Flagship Edition Aug/Sept 2011
  5. ^ "True Stories – Thirty-year follow-up at pneumonectomy of a 58-year-old survivor of disseminated osteosarcoma", George A. Jelinek and Ruth H. Gawler, MJA 2008; 189 (11/12): pp663-665
  6. ^ "Cancer patients at risk from inaccurate clinical reporting in a high-profile alternative treatment story", Medical Journal of Australia, 20 September 2010.
  7. ^ "It only has to be done once", Ian Gawler's "Out on a Limb" blog, 22 November 2010.
  8. ^ Guy Allenby, The Dragon's Blessing, Allen & Unwin, 2008
  9. ^ "It only has to be done once", Ian Gawler's blog.
  10. ^ Ian Gawler's blog – Out on a Limb, 22 November 2010; "It only has to be done once"
  11. ^ H.C. Nauts; "Osteogenic sarcoma: end results following immunotherapy (bacterial vaccines) 165 cases, or concurrent infections, inflammation or fever, 41 cases", New York: Cancer Research Institute, 1975, (CRI Monograph No. 15)
  12. ^ Ormerod, L.P., Grundy M. and Rahman M.A. Multiple tuberculous bone lesions simulating metastatic disease. Tubercle 989;70: pp305-307
  13. ^ "A fatal case of spinal tuberculosis mistaken for metastatic lung cancer: recalling ancient Pott's disease", PubMed, 20 November 2009.

External links[edit]