In the midst of her own anxious feelings about the fires near her home, Turia Pitt is coping with adversity through service as she launches a project to help others.
It’s pretty typical of this sporty and inspiring mum who is mum to nearly 2-year-old Hakavai and currently 8 months pregnant with her second child.
Yesterday Turia admitted she was having real difficulty processing the current bushfire catastrophe and was not feeling under threat and not in a good place at all.
“I’m exhausted. I feel like I’ve done 10 marathons. And we can’t relax because it’s only the start of summer, and it’s not over yet,” Turia wrote on Instagram.
Turia suffered terrible injuries when she was caught in a bushfire during a 2011 ultramarathon in Western Australia, so the current fire catastrophe is particularly challenging for this mum-of-almost-two.
“I’ve had recurring nightmares about running through flames with my son in my arms,” she admitted.
“It’s been difficult to sleep, eat or think and all I’ve really wanted to do is tap out, put my head in the sand and pretend that nothing is going on.”
But fast-forward to later that very same day and incredibly she’s rallying, determined to channel her energy into helping others as she awaits the birth of her baby.
“I’ve created @spendwiththem, a place to feature businesses in fire-affected towns,” Turia explained in an Instagram update on Tuesday.
“So, if you want to buy something (now, or in the future), check out @spendwiththem and buy something from one of these places. Spend your money with the people and the communities who really, truly need it. They need you. We need you.”
Turia firmly urged people NOT to travel to areas affected by fires to shop, but to spend their money via online shopping or phoning the fire-affected businesses that are jumping on board instead.
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My last post was long. So, let me get into the guts of it here: Once these fires are finally ‘over’, it won’t be over for many of the local businesses in fire-ravaged towns. A lot of these places (like my home in Mollymook, and Mallacoota, Kangaroo Island, Eden etc) rely on the tourist dollar for their very survival. I’ve been motivated by Tegan Webber’s #GoWithEmptyEskys campaign and by the legends at @buyfromthebush. And so this is what I’m doing. I’ve created @spendwiththem, a place to feature businesses in fire-affected towns. So, if you want to buy something (now, or in the future), check out @spendwiththem and buy something from one of these places. Spend your money with the people and the communities who really, truly need it. They need you. We need you. This is a way to put money directly in the pockets of the people and communities who need it the most, and need it NOW. Long after the threat is over and the choppers stop flying overhead. Long after summer ends and the wail of sirens ceases in the streets. Help them rebuild. Make them feel heard. Spend with them. And, if you’re a business in a fire-affected town, hit us up at @spendwiththem to be featured. Much love to all of you, donating, spending, and doing everything you can. I’m blown away. Turia xx #spendwiththem
“I salute you, Pitt”
Her friends and fans were heartened and inspired by this brilliant project – and by her incredible resilience in the face of adversity.
Megan Gale simply wrote a heartfelt “bless you.”
And plenty of non-famous people responded passionately to Turia’s updates too.
“Was thinking a lot of you over the last days, Turia, and how you are coping emotionally,” one follower wrote. “I have friends in your area and heard how bad it is. Love your work and resilience and will share this info on fb. Take care!”
Go Turia. What an absolute legend.
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Fires had been raging up and down the South Coast for close to a month. People were evacuated from Bawley Point and Tabourie Lake. Milton was hit. Michael did food and supply runs in his boat. We watched as the sky went red and black days before Christmas. More fires broke out on New Years Eve. I watched, my mouth agape, as two angry plumes from the fires north and south of us joined together over Mollymook Beach. And then, the power went out. Mobile reception became spotty. Internet was down. Rumours swirled around town like the ashes that rained down on us. Embers in our backyards. Homes had been lost. Whole streets obliterated. A girlfriend’s panicked text about her dad being trapped. I packed my go bag and filled the bath with water. Michael cooked bacon and eggs on the barbecue outside. Hakavai and I read books on the balcony. We watched as the fine grey smoke settled in on our beloved Mollymook Beach. At a quarter to eight, the evening was quiet. Not a peaceful and serene quiet, but an eerie quiet. An apocalyptic quiet. No one on their balconies drinking beers. No music blaring from our neighbours next door, or from the houses across the street. No revellers preparing to celebrate the new year. And it was dark. No power. No lights. First of all: I’m sorry that I haven’t been more proactive in this time. It’s been a tough few weeks for me emotionally. I’ve had to focus on not letting my emotions and own experiences get the better of me. I’ve tried to not let the panic genie out of the bottle (because once that genie’s out, you’ve got zero chance of squashing it back in). And, I’m exhausted. I feel like I’ve done 10 marathons. And we can’t relax because it’s only the start of summer, and it’s not over yet. So just like in a marathon, I’ve realised I have to pace myself. A lot of things have been tough. Being 8 months pregnant with a toddler, I’ve felt as useful as tits on a bull. I’ve had recurring nightmares about running through flames with my son in my arms. It’s been difficult to sleep, eat or think and all I’ve really wanted to do is tap out, put my head in the sand and pretend that nothing is going on. Continued in comments.