Emerging Colac sports star Emma Hawker spent a year battling an unknown illness that made it near impossible to even get out of bed. Simple tasks had become arduous chores due to what she now knows is chronic fatigue syndrome. But now, almost two years later, the 19-year-old is getting back to her old self and dominating on the basketball, netball and tennis court. She spoke with the Colac Herald’s Ben Martin about her battle.
It was almost three years ago when the symptoms began to set in for talented Colac sportsperson Emma Hawker.
After 16 years of bouncing out of bed and tackling life full of energy, Hawker had begun to feel more and more drained.
It was the beginning of a year full of unanswered questions.
She would later learn that she was suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome.
“It’s different for everyone, but for me, I would feel drained of energy constantly, like all day,” Hawker recalled.
“Even if I slept really good hours, 10-plus hours, I would have zero energy or enthusiasm to do anything,” she said.
“My immune system was really low as well, so I’d be really susceptible to the flu.
“I hated being in the classroom because my brain was just so fuzzy, I felt like I couldn’t retain anything.
“And it started to affect my mental health, you’d feel really sorry for yourself.”
Hawker is one of the Colac district’s most promising young sportspeople.
She plays tennis with Warncoort, A and B Grade netball with the Colac Tigers, and was coming off an All Star season in the Country Basketball League with the Colac Kookas.
But Hawker said she began to lose energy in early 2017, as she was starting Year 11 at Trinity College Colac.
She said she was constantly sick, with a runny nose and a cough every few weeks.
“I was just tired, I couldn’t physically get out of bed, I couldn’t move, I was just so drained,” Hawker said.
“Mum realised something was wrong but we didn’t know what to do, I thought maybe it was depression,” she said.
“You could see it in my schoolwork, I’d rock up with no interest, I could feel myself getting disconnected from friends and it was getting worse.
“Year 11 was the worst, because I went so long without knowing what was wrong.”
See today’s Colac Herald for more.