You will never meet anyone who loves life quite as much as Heather Joiner does.
Heather, who will turn 90 on 30 April, has a spring in her step, a twinkle in her eye and a lifetime of stories to tell.
She was born in Queen Victoria Hospital in 1932, the eldest of three kids.
Heather comes from tough stock. She recalls her dad returning from World War II with malaria before recovering in hospital and thriving as the owner of several shoe shops.
When she was 16, she helped her mum – who was blind by night with retinitis pigmentosa – make her debutante ball gown. She still has a photo of her 16-year-old self in that dress.
Heather has survived cancer twice, recovered from two strokes, and has dedicated much of her life to helping cancer patients.
The mother of three has been a valued part of the Beaudesert community since she moved here more than 30 years ago.
In the early 90s, she was integral to starting the Beaudesert Breast Cancer Support Group and became a counsellor for cancer patients and a passionate fundraiser for the cause.
She transformed 17 Albert Street – the house she bought with her late husband Keith Joiner when they first moved here – into ‘The Lodge’ and loved opening it to the public for Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea every year.
She became a foundation member of the Beaudesert Community Arts and Information Centre, and taught art for several years at The Lodge.
Heather sold The Lodge years ago, but still lives in her own home in Beaudesert and loves welcoming people in – particularly when it involves supporting them through cancer.
Her home is full of colour and art – including her own art – and she takes pride in keeping it neat as a pin, putting on music and dancing around the house to get the chores done.
Heather still has her massage table set up in a light-filled nook of the house, and for 18 years provided natural therapies to cancer patients.
She said positivity was the secret to her longevity.
“I’ve never given up yet. I believe in mind, body and spirit. I’ve done yoga for just about all my life, and exercise,” she said.
“You’ve got to believe in yourself – you can do it. Don’t speak negatively, and don’t say, ‘I can’t’.”
Heather, who celebrated her birthday early at Stationmaster House, will also celebrate at the Cancer Council High Tea and Fashion Parade with her eldest daughter, Kerrie Wise, at Bromelton House on 30 April.