Cancer experts in the United Kingdom reviewed Grace’s book “Women of Silence”

Women of Silence GRace Gawler
Original 1994 edition. Republished UK 2003. Now available in eBook.

The emotional healing of breast cancer

“This is a book full of thoughtful, practical insights to everyday living with cancer. I would like all my colleagues to read it.”
Professor R.R. Hall, Lead Clinician, Northern Cancer network, NHS. Newcastle-on- Tyne UK.

An essential companion for all women, it answers all the questions you often don’t want to ask. Packed with useful exercises to help you regain control of your situation, it will help you begin the healing process during the emotional turmoil surrounding breast cancer.”
Professor Karol Sikora, Professor of Cancer Medicine, Imperial College and Hammersmith Hospital, London.

“Grace writes with authority and compassion. She provides women with an invitation to regard their adversity as a great opportunity”
Professor Neville Davidson, Professor in Clinical Oncology, Broomfield Hospital Essex UK. Chairman HEAL Cancer Charity & Helen Rollason Cancer Care Centre Appeal.

“With insight, compassion and a sure touch, Grace gives a voice to the many thousands of women worldwide who for far too long have been suffering in silence.”
The late Pat Pilkington MBE Co founder Bristol Cancer Help Centre, UK-now the Penny Brohn Centre.


  1. As a Johns Hopkins preventive medicine-trained physician, who developed the first wellness centre in the US, I am very aware of the need for balance around health issues. Grace Gawler’s memoirs, Grace, Grit, and Gratitude, apart from being an inspiring and gripping story, alerts the reader to a whole host of assumptions that are prevalent regarding cancer healing. It is a vital exploration into what really heals. The book is aptly named!Knowing Grace personally, I can say that I’ve never seen anyone with more passion for speaking her truth, looking at herself, grit, shadow, and all—sometimes even with a magnifying mirror—and able to write it all down in an easy-to-read style. She takes you along on her healing adventures like you’re sitting next to her (not that much of it was done sitting down). This incredible life story reads like an adventure tale, with villains, heroes, and all sorts of characters in between. Her gracious manner of dealing with adversity, and her expressions of gratitude, where I would be hard- pressed to feel any at all, are truly an inspiration.

John W. Travis, MD, MPH, co-author, Wellness Workbook

  1. Grace, Grit and Gratitude is an autobiography of a remarkable woman, Grace Gawler, whose extraordinary life saved her husband from almost certain death from bone cancer after having been given two weeks to live by his doctors. She also helped save countless others from their doctor’s death sentences. After her husband’s recovery, she worked with him in Australia at the Gawler Foundation providing information that helped many cancer patients take responsibility for their healing and later wrote a book for women with breast cancer and duplicated her successes there.

The book is both inspiring and very difficult to read because of Grace’s inability to move away from an abusive and emotionally frozen husband time and time again. Most women would have left Ian early on but Grace always saw a possibility for communication and healing that never came. In the end, the icy silences and violent outbursts of physical abuse directed at Grace were the precursors to Ian’s finally walking out on Grace and their children. Ian’s departure was not the end of Grace’s challenges physically, emotionally and financially. She developed her own life threatening complication after a surgery requiring 16 more operations and miraculously lived to tell the tale becoming the first recipient in the world of a bionic implant for her condition.

Grace’s story set in the Australian countryside, Melbourne, the Philippines, London, Scotland and the Netherlands is full of epic drama and after hundreds of pages; there is finally hope and resolution beyond imagination. I do not remember a book that made me feel more overwhelmed by the enormity of life challenges faced and overcome nor more inspired by the true grit that Grace displayed from marrying a man given two weeks to live and being totally responsible for his care and recovery to raising children and taking care of the farm on which they lived. Grace, Grit and Gratitude is a magnificent story of overcoming adversity on a scale few can imagine. It puts life into context and reveals a strength and compassion beyond reason.

If you have been or are being challenged in your life, know someone going through hard times or anyone with cancer needing support, this is a must read book. For me, Grace defines a woman on a mission whose work has benefited thousands while saving the lives of men and women including her husband and her own that would have certainly died had this angel of mercy, intelligence and compassion not been there to offer her healing love and light.

Grace is quite simply an angel in human form whose life is a shining example of what we might become if we discover the amazing power of love and focus that all too often become buried by the many overwhelming challenges and distractions of life. To learn more about this remarkable woman please read her astonishing and illuminating memoir.

            Review by Jeff Hutner New Paradigm Digest USA

  1. Grace Gawler’s memoirs, Grace, Grit and Gratitude kept me reading well into the night. The book is written in an easy style that rewards the reader with insights into Grace as a woman, mother, wife, carer, healer and pioneer of the original supportive care movement for cancer patients in Australia.

A uniquely Australian story, Grace brings alive the 1950’s Australia of her childhood. Her love of animals drew her into vet nursing. She teams up with a young vet and they set up a seemingly idyllic Victorian country vet practice. Almost immediately after their romance develops, he is diagnosed with a usually fatal type of cancer. Their relationship unfolds in the shadow of his illness. Later their marriage becomes the fertile ground from which Grace discovers the depth of her ability to love and to heal. Meanwhile, Grace has grown into a beauty and comes to the attention of a modelling agency. She forgoes lucrative modelling opportunities in order to remain her boyfriend’s full time carer-they married when he had a few weeks to live. In time, he becomes well again and for a while, they flourish and are further blessed with four children. Their journey into his healing and their joint establishment of the Gawler Foundation is alone worth reading. However, what was originally a lifeline for Ian comes at a price for Grace.

When Ian leaves the marriage, Grace descends into her own life-and-death battle with a life-threatening condition and near destitution. Alone, she undergoes over sixteen surgeries while struggling with the day-to-day challenges of being a single parent to four children. Her ordeal imposes many losses including her position at the Gawler Foundation. Few would have survived her hardships but Grace always drew on a mysterious hidden reserve – the same one she used to heal others.

The rest of the book shows how Grace healed herself and reclaimed her identity. It reveals, perhaps for the first time, her unique contributions to the Gawler Foundation – and how she has subsequently forged her own solo career in supportive cancer care as a healer and author of self-help books for cancer sufferers. Perhaps her biggest achievement is founding cancer support in Australia. Many health professionals are involved with cancer sufferers but none offer ongoing support and the unique healing that Grace has pioneered over the past thirty years.

Not merely an autobiography of a unique Australian, this book offers useful information and deep insights for cancer sufferers, their carers, family and friends. It shows how seemingly insurmountable obstacles can be overcome and the miracle of healing is revealed in a way that people can experience it, reproduce it and derive inspiration from it.

I finished Grace’s book late on Saturday night; that night I dreamt about the country practice animal stories Grace had vividly told, and for a night, I was in her life. I woke up just before her more demanding challenges came in the story. I think it is fair to say that her book was engaging. Ernest Hemmingway said once: ‘Courage is Grace under pressure.’ Courageous is not too strong a word to describe this woman.

At the very least, this book is a good yarn with a ‘happy-ending’, as Grace is happily re partnered. At most, it’s an awe-inspiring Australian story that will improve supportive cancer care in this country. It is certainly however, a story of redemption – well worth the read.

 Eve Hillary is former freelance medical writer and research analyst on issues pertaining to health care, environmental health and the ways in which globalisation erodes Democracy. She has authored two books, Health Betrayal and Children of a Toxic Harvest. She lives in NSW and is now a health consultant and author who passionately pursues issues pertaining to global wellbeing.

  1. “It is said it takes a village to raise a child and may it be said it takes a village to assist a cancer patient to live. In this case – Ian’s ex-wife, Grace Gawler (a co-founder of the Gawler Foundation and Yarra Valley Living Centre at Yarra Junction), carried a huge load in Ian’s recovery. As a Psychologist, I am aware of the extraordinary, tiring and necessary role of the supportive carer. The role of the carer is major in the bid for a cancer patient’s healing and survival. Grace’s story needs to be told. She is a remarkable woman with a remarkable story.”

            Merran Brown, Psychologist, Queensland.

Two books that provide strategies for managing cancer