In 1983 Petrea was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and was not expected to live. Meditation and the integration of past traumatic experiences, including the recent suicide of her brother Brenden, became paramount in her recovery, much of which was spent in a monastery near Assisi in Italy. She has been meditating since the age of 17.
Petrea has counselled individually or through residential programs tens of thousands of people living with cancer and other life-challenging illnesses, grief, loss, trauma and tragedy. She is at the forefront of wellness education and is a frequent lecturer at medical and other conferences. Petrea sees crisis as a catalyst for growth and understanding and as an opportunity for healing and peace.
More than 80,000 people have attended residential programs or counselling with Petrea and her team since 1985. She also lectures and conducts workshops around Australia and internationally.
Petrea has written eight best-selling books: Quest for Life ~ A handbook for people with life-threatening illness, Spirited Women ~ Journeys with Breast Cancer, Sometimes Hearts Have to Break ~ 25 inspirational stories of healing and peace, Your Life Matters ~ The Power of Living Now; three children’s books, You, Me & the Rainbow, Rainbow Kids and The Rainbow Garden; and a recipe book, Food for Life. The Your Life Matters book is also available on a double CD with Petrea narrating and she has produced a dozen relaxation and meditation practices on CD, including a CD for children, Rainbow Connection. Her CDs are available through this website or through iTunes.
Frequently featured in the media, Petrea is a regular guest on Richard Glover’s Mid-Week Conference and Tony Delroy’s Nightlife on ABC radio. In 2003 she was celebrated on Channel 9’s This Is Your Life and has been featured on Australian Story, Compass and many other television productions. An acclaimed documentary was jointly commissioned by Channel 4 (UK) and the ABC called Quest for Life – A Year in the Life of Petrea King in 1990.
Petrea has received the Advance Australia Award, Citizen of the Year and the Centenary Medal for her contribution to the community and has been nominated for Australian of the year each year since 2003.
Petrea lives with her partner Wendie Batho in Bundanoon, NSW.