What an amazing year it has been. As I reflect on what I have achieved, I thought I would write this final blog for the year, recapping some of the key moments that have inspired me.

Completing the New York Marathon

Needless to say, this is the highlight of the year for me.

To be able to represent us women and children and complete the New York Marathon was without a doubt an experience I will never ever forget. The feeling of crossing the finish line was absolutely amazing and it made all the hard work that I’d put into rebuilding my body worth every single bit.

Thank you for all your positive support, reading all the encouraging messages on my Facebook page and phone brings tears to my eyes again. I feel so blessed.

However, my work isn’t done. There is still much more to do, we are at 86 deaths this year already and this figure is unacceptable. We need to continue working to bring the number down to zero that is my aim for 2019.

Reuniting with my saviours

On 12 Sept, I experienced one of the most emotional moments in my life when I met with the ambulance team that saved my life during that night of attack.

Dr Stephen Rashford, Phil Davies and Amy Edwards were the three paramedics treating me on the scene and they kept me alive in the ambulance until I got to the hospital. I am so incredibly lucky to have these three angels there that night and I am truly blessed.

During the reunion, Dr Rashford actually said to me that I was lucky to have been hit 45 to 50 times on my head with a baseball bat because the impact shattered my skull and it created room for my swelling brain inside.

He said, “Simone, that’s why you’ve ended up with no long or short-term memory loss. That’s why you’re walking and talking and running and helping prevent domestic violence.”

I know it’s hard to believe that being hit that many times is a positive, but because of that I’m here to share my story. So I have been telling myself every day since then, to channel this positivity into whatever that I do, so that I recover and be able to spread the word and stop domestic violence from happening ever again.

Seeing more men get involved

Towards the second half of this year, I began noticing more men attending my presentations and that is a very encouraging sign.

Knowing men are getting involved in the domestic violence side of things, that’s huge, absolutely huge. Many times, I had men from the audience coming up to me to learn more about how they can handle domestic violence situations better and what they can do to lower the number of deaths.

This is amazing because we need both hands to clap, both men and women need to work together if we are going to solve this issue. It’s a team effort and women can’t do this alone. I look forward to working with more men in 2019 to raise further awareness on stopping domestic violence.

What’s coming up in 2019…

There are many things to look forward to next year and I can’t wait to get started.

One thing I would really like to achieve in 2019 is launch my Red Flags programme. Everyone should be aware of the red flags in a relationship that could potentially lead to violent situations and be able to take steps to protect themselves. It is easy to overlook these red flags, I was guilty of this as well, so let’s all look out for these red flags together and make a change.

I will also be continuing my work with the Western Bulldogs in the Bounce Back programme. It’s an honour to be working with the doggies, Bob Murphy and Jake Edwards to speak at workplaces and inspire people to make a change. If you would like us to visit your workplace, do leave me a message.

In May 2019 I will be going to a series of schools and correctional centres in Queensland to speak about domestic violence. The state is really increasing its efforts in raising awareness and I’m really honoured to be given the opportunity to help them achieve their aim.

On the treatment side of things, I received some bad news and I was told that I needed another operation for the skin graft on my forehead. I had thought that after 51 operations that was it, but well things don’t always happen the way we want. All I can do is stay positive, get it over and done with and look forward. 🙂

Thank you so, so much for all your support throughout the year. I can’t thank you enough, and that’s coming from the bottom of my heart. As you know, I just speak out how it is. That’s me. Thank you again and have a very, very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

See you all in 2019!