Rebecca East

I’ve always been a firm believer that anything’s possible if you apply yourself.   When I graduated from school I went straight into a job in banking and quickly learned that my love for people, my work ethic and my passion for service were a great combination in the industry.  I loved my customers, always worked hard for the next promotion and ended up as Retail Service Manager in the Bank of Queensland head office.  I was passionate about BoQ and I was proud of the job I did.  I’ve always loved that saying ‘the harder I work, the luckier I get’.

Family matters.  Like many women, I put my career on hold to start a family.    I’m blessed to be the mother of four beautiful children and wife to a wonderful and supportive husband.   My family is absolutely my number one priority.  I encourage my children to be the best they can be and I teach them to work hard, be kind to others and to dream big.   As you can imagine (or know first hand), with four children, finding time for yourself can be tricky.

It’s never too late to start something new.   After the early years of having babies – at one point I had 3 under 3 – I wanted to do something for myself.  So at the ripe young age of 40, I started running with a neighbourhood group and the next minute found myself training for the New York Marathon (as you do!) with 2 friends.  I felt like I had finally found my thing – I loved everything about the challenge of training and running a marathon.  I loved the camaraderie of running and the friendships I developed, like the one I enjoy with Keely.

Dream big.  Since then, I haven’t looked back.  I have continued to run, cycle and swim in many events often travelling with friends and my husband to compete in events around the world.   In 2016 I qualified for the World Half Ironman Titles which happened to be on the Sunshine Coast – the first time they’d ever been held outside of the U.S.  With the support of my family I trained really hard.   It was a massive commitment for us all.   My schedule is probably quite different to other athletes as my training is always done and dusted before 7am so I don’t upset the family timetable. To my total surprise, with 120 athletes from 70 countries competing in that Ironman event, I finished second.

A story to capture hearts.  Every Easter our family travels to a property known as “Uralla” owned by family friends, Scott and AnnMarie Attwooll.  “Uralla” is situated about 4 hours drive west of Brisbane in a little town called Meandarra.   The Attwools give us the most amazing holidays every year.  This is where we really feel the true spirit of the outback.    We sit on the verandah at Scott and AnnMarie’s home overlooking the creek and enjoying drinks and good country food.  It was here we first heard the story of Graham Bridle; a good friend, neighbour and valuable community member and volunteer who tragically lost his life to a heart attack.  We felt their grief and disbelief that this could happen to someone so young, vibrant and dearly loved.   As more stories were shared, I started to understand how health issues are tragically frequently undiagnosed in country communities.    Farmers being too busy or not being able to leave the farm to get in to town to have routine health checks is an all too common theme.

Dig deep.  To help their friends, Scott and Ann Marie hosted a lunch attended by more than 300 guests, to raise money for a mobile service called the Heart Bus which provides specialist health and other services to rural communities.  This bus, which is fitted out with the latest medical equipment, nurses and its founder Dr Rolf Gomes, travels throughout regional Queensland providing specialist services to those who at risk.     After attending the lunch with Keely Mancini and talking to Dr Rolf Gomes that day, we were hooked.  This was a mission with heart and so Girls Got Heart was born.   Inspired by the work of Dr Gomes and his team, Girls Got Heart is now dedicated to supporting critically needed heart health services for rural and remote Queensland communities.

So that’s my story so far.  I’d love you to join me so I can learn about yours.  We’re inviting riders from every level – beginner to advanced – to join with the spirit of Girls Got Heart and connect with one another, our fellow countrymen and make a difference.  C’mon, let’s do this.   X