Getting life back on the right track

I was born in Kununara, in the Kimberley region in the far north of Western Australia in 1975 to my parents Patricia Scanlon and Allan Francis, I identify myself as a Balanggarra Kimberleys girl.

I grew up in Darwin where my sister Malinda and my brother Sydney were born. We moved to Adelaide when I was five-years-old and then Newcastle but moved back to Darwin when I was 15.

Growing up in Darwin was really good, we would build cars, go horse riding and go hunting and goose shooting with our family.

We lived in Humpty Doo, a small town near Darwin and I attended Taminmin High School at Humpty Doo. School was awesome, we had agricultural courses and did a lot of farm work out there.

I became pregnant in year 12 and would miss my exam by two weeks. My first child, Josh Patterson would arrive in 1993 followed by Nikki Patterson in 1996.

After my schooling finished I worked full time at the army, navy and air force barracks as a cleaner before moving to Adelaide for a bit of a life change.

There I had two more children, Zoe Pratt in 2001 and Tyson Pratt in 2003.

We decided to move to Port Lincoln as my father lived here and sometimes you get to a point in your life where you need a change. I seem to be very grounded in Port Lincoln and it feels like home.

My sister Malinda would follow me to Port Lincoln and she had two children of her own, Bella and Marley.

Sadly in 2015 Malinda was killed in a car accident 30 kilometres north of Cowell on the Lincoln Highway, her two children came into my care permanently.

It took me one week to tell Bella and Marley about their mother's death and it was one of the hardest things I had ever done, but I am determined to be there for them and to ensure their mother continues to be a big part of their lives.

I would spend 18 months in Ceduna to get my life back in order and get a clear direction. I worked at a childcare centre in Ceduna but travelled back to Port Lincoln every Saturday to play softball.

It was here when my weight loss journey began as I weighed in at 135 kilograms. I would lose weight through healthy eating, working out, walking and being smart about the choices I made.

It was about either making the life change for myself or have a bunch of health problems and not live to see my grandchildren grow up.

I went back to Port Lincoln in 2018, my weight loss journey continued and I managed to lose 52 kilograms, giving me back my quality of life.

I am currently a case manager for a community organisation in Port Lincoln that supports locals, which I am very passionate about.

I love softball and have been playing for Squaws for eight years. Last year I went to the Gold Coast to play in the Masters Games and will go again to Adelaide in October.

I am very proud of my children, Josh works as a fisherman and Nikki is a police officer in Darwin but is about to be posted to Nhulunbuy. Zoe is doing year 12 and Tyson is an up and coming football star. I also have four grandchildren who I love dearly.

I love the local community, the people and this place just makes me feel warm. It is a good community that comes together when it needs to.