3 Jul 2024

Ruth's Resilience - The life story of Ruth Watts

Seniors Living
Being born with dislocated hips and adopted out as a baby in Sydney might have set Ruth up for a challenging childhood, but she hasn’t let that get her down.

There have been many close calls along the way, but Ruth is still here, connected with God and family and sharing her story.

At five years old, a simple slip on the creek’s edge led to a near drowning, Mum tried to grab her, but fortunately she was rescued by her uncle. She spent time in West Epping, enjoying Girl Guides and singing around the fire. Activities kept her busy – school, walking to the shops, church, and the YMCA for trampolining and badminton. Around her 14th birthday jumping on the trampoline led to a dislocated hip and consequently some long hospital stays. Enduring treatment and surgery were made somewhat sweeter becoming friends with the amazing head sister, Sister Western on the ward. Additionally, a black and white TV from her Dad, where she watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon, and Star Trek on Saturdays helped pass the time. School had to carry on in the ward, and Ruth spent two Christmases in the hospital.

Once out of hospital, at 16, Ruth left home and began working. First at a watch factory, and then in a jeans factory where she worked as an apprentice after studying garment assembly at TAFE.

At 20, Ruth learned to swim, and this proved to be a successful endeavour, resulting in 4 trophies and countless ribbons!

Moving to Northern NSW brought a change of scene and another job in a garment factory but also some tragedy, being made redundant from this role, and losing her father to cancer, and a brother to a car accident.

At 27 Ruth became unwell with depression and schizophrenia and moved to Brisbane for treatment. Living in a lady’s home there, she secured a new job at the Sunshine Welfare Remedial Association and continued living and working in there for 40 years.

With multiple leg breaks, and the removal of one of her feet, Ruth ended up in a wheelchair. She has also recovered from breast cancer but has been cancer-free for 20 years!

A determined and resilient woman, Ruth now lives at Churches of Christ Aged Care in Warwick, where she has regular visits with her sister, and niece and nephews. Ruth keeps a positive outlook, sharing her spiritual story:   

“You may think that I have been through a lot of hard times, but God has been with me the whole time! I had a Godmother, Pat Nelson, who was a deaconess in the Church of England. She was my spiritual guide, like a second mother to me. One day when I was younger, as I was walking to Pat’s place in Sydney, I had a feeling there was someone talking to me. The voice said, ‘Get off the road!’ Just as I stepped back onto the curb, a car came speeding out of nowhere, and it would have killed me if I didn’t move. Now I know I have a guardian angel! Another time, I saw a man across the road. He said nothing but made a gesture for me to stop walking. After a car sped past me, the man was gone, and I survived because of this instruction. I know it’s not my time to die yet but when I do, I’m going to give Jesus a big hug!”

We are so proud of Ruth, and all that she has overcome. We love having her in our community.