A quick chat with Georgia Baker, Australian professional cyclist, Olympian and St.LukesHealth Brand Ambassador.
At just 23 years of age, Tasmania’s Georgia Baker has achieved more than most do in a lifetime despite heart surgery and the sad death of her father.
Spotted at a talent identification program at 14 on her first ride at the velodrome, Georgia’s dedication and desire to take on the world has won the admiration of the cycling fraternity and her thousands of fans.
It’s no surprise Georgia has achieved incredible success. Already she is a multiple UCI Junior World Champion, made the 2016 UCI Track World Championships in London and made her Olympics debut in the women’s team pursuit at the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Games.
St.LukesHealth caught up with Georgia recently between training sessions in Adelaide, as she prepares for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games later this year and also looks to the Toyko Olympics in 2020.
Georgia has made an impressive return to the track following a health scare last year which forced her departure from the International women’s tour in the UK. She returned home for heart tests leading to surgery to correct an abnormal heart-rate.
"It was a really tough period. My heart rate would spike to 150 beats per minute at any time of the day and leave me feeling really light headed. I had no control over it and it would happen mid-race, in training sessions and even when I wasn't on the bike."
"I just knew it wasn't normal," Georgia said. With a family history of heart problems, Georgia wasn’t prepared to ignore her symptoms.
Her scare came two years after tragically losing her father Patrick, 44, to a heart attack. The grief of her father’s death drove her to prioritise her health and then to get back on the bike following surgery.
I was out of cycling for a few months while they did various tests and scans to try and work out what was going on but after surgery, I was able to get back on the bike within a week,” she said.
Having the right health insurance meant I could focus on my health when I needed to, make sure I could get all the tests and scans I needed and then have surgery without worrying about cost. I am relieved that my ordeal is now over and I can now focus well and truly on the track.
Currently based in Adelaide for the training and hoping for Commonwealth Games selection later this month, Georgia says it is her family and friends in Tasmania that are her support network and inspire her every day.
"I'm driven by their belief in me and constant support of my cycling. On the days I wake up and feel heading to the track is too hard or that I can't do it, I think of them, particularly Dad."
She says the cycling community in Tasmania is very supportive. The Tasmanian Institute of Sport and Cycling Tasmania has encouraged her from day one and supported her family involvement as well.
"My coach Matt Gilmore has always been there for me and Tasmania is producing some really brilliant cyclists at the moment," Georgia says.
"The Tassie terrain was the perfect training ground for me and really helped me become the cyclist I am today. Being here in South Australia is great but sometimes I catch myself wishing for a few of those Tassie hills!" she laughs.
"Its a great feeling to be back on track."
Jasmine Dawson - Post-natal testimony
The chance to unwind as a couple with John and bond with our new daughter before going home to our three boys was beautiful. Ellsia was our first baby girl and had a bit of a rocky start to life. She was three weeks premature and I had gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. She had some trouble controlling her blood sugar and was in intensive care.
It was convenient and reassuring being so close to the hospital when we were discharged, as we live three hours away. Midwives are across the road and we didn’t need to bring anything from home. The bath, cot, scales and everything else we needed was in the room. It’s just like having a hospital room but in a more relaxed setting. We felt so confident there.
We planned to stay two nights but had an unexpected call the morning of the transfer – our baby sitter had to leave straight away to be with her children. James from St.Lukes took care of everything and went above and beyond to organise the discharge and transfer for us. The level of care was fantastic and we are so grateful.
When we got to the Mantra everything was ok and the room was ready. It was lovely, spacious and quiet and there was a beautiful basket of goodies for us. I love the swaddles, they’re so useful. I’ve never swaddled the kids before. Ellsia loves them too!
That night we went out for a meal together in the restaurant. We could eat in the room but as I didn’t have to brave walking far to go out after the C-section and meals out don’t happen often with four kids under 10! It was lovely.
Beth the midwife visited to check over Ellsia and I before we left. She gave us lots of info to take home and for any follow up support. I could have seen the physio too but we didn’t have time and I felt fine to go home.
I couldn’t recommend it higher having private care during pregnancy. I had the boys in the public system and the staff were lovely and accommodating.
I assumed it wasn’t much different as a private patient unless there’s something major, but choosing a specialist and develop an ongoing relationship meant I had much more confidence throughout the pregnancy because of that continuity of care.
Initially we weren’t going to use the post-natal service. Living in Smithton it’s a long time to be away from the kids. We thought John could travel back and forth and realised it would be so convenient for him to come back to the hotel. Even though we had just one night in the end, it was the highlight of the birthing experience.
I wasn’t a firm believer in health cover when I was younger; I thought it was for older, less healthy people. Now we have a family, quick access to good quality medical care without hassle gives us so much peace of mind.