A celebration of survival
THERE was a lot to celebrate on Saturday at Flutter Noosa as they marked 10 years of business.
For owner Donna Maahs however, the milestone marks much more than just surviving the business world, it was about turning trauma into a positive.
Donna is a 2002 Bali bombing survivor and still feels the emotional pain.
"Bali changed me,” Donna said.
At age 28, she and some friends were in Bali and only moments away from entering the Sari Club before disaster struck.
"We were just about there when the first bomb went off,” Donna recalled.
"Everything went very dark and dusty.”
Donna sustained shrapnel wounds to her arm and a concrete pillar was blown onto her foot from the blast.
"Another minute and we would have been right there on top of it.”
Knowing how different the outcome could have been, Donna considers herself very lucky.
"If there was a positive I gained from it, it was that it gave me a leap of faith to go out and do something.”
With a young son back home to care for, Donna eventually picked herself up and studied a diploma of beauty therapy.
"So, as a single mum with not much money I took a leap of faith, right around the GFC and opened Flutter,” she said.
"Now I employ other young women to follow their dreams.”
While running her salon as a single parent has not always been smooth sailing, over the weekend Donna held a party to thank her clients for their support.
"They have helped me provide for my boy and this was about giving back to the community,” she said, choking back emotion.
"My motto is what you put out is what you get back.”
Flutter has given Donna a sense of overcoming adversity to achieve a dream.
"Even with the trauma, it doesn't matter your hurdles, you always find a way to get past them,” she said.
Donna admits the past 16 years have been extremely difficult for her.
"You just learn to live with it,” she said.
"Every time I hear a big bang and that initial shock runs through my body, it just takes over.
"I will always be in counselling.”
For now, Donna is happy to celebrate and looks forward to many more years of Flutter.
"Here's cheers to another 10 years!”