Gill Hicks was on her way to work on a mild summer Thursday morning on the London tube. The Australian was running late on July 7, 2005. As a successful design curator and publisher she was usually at her desk by 7.30am, but this morning a crop of small things; forgetting her train pass, taking longer to get ready, had held her up and she caught a later train to Kings Cross.
With a rush of daily commuters, all squashed together and avoiding eye contact as they do, Gill filed onto a later train. It was the same train, the same carriage, that one of the London suicide bombers stepped into.
In the terror attack on London that morning, 56 people died including four suicide bombers.
Gill survived. She lost both her legs. Eleven years on her life has, obviously, is so very different.
She now has a three-year-old daughter, Amelie, and, Gill has dedicated her life to the pursuit of peace with her not-for-profit organisation M.A.D. for Peace which is dedicated to communicating to all of us the importance of our individual responsibility in creating a more peaceful world.
Gill has survived unimaginable trauma. What is even more remarkable, that after being a victim of such a violent, random terrorist attack, is that she has decided to embrace humanity instead of question it.
“I truly felt such an incredible connection to humanity afterwards and I’ve had to hold on to the belief that that’s who we really are,” she says in between breaks at TEDxSydney where she was a guest speaker.
“Does it have to take a disaster for us to know how deeply connected we are? There were people who did incredible things for me and for everyone and that is what I hold on to.”
Gill talks about the men and women who didn’t give up on her, up on anyone in the carnage that morning, and reminds us that because of them, she was able to go on and have a child,
“It’s incredible really, my body, with all it’s been through has gone on to create another life.”
“Now it’s about living a good life.”
One for Gill that involves laughter and love and appreciating what she does have. One where she asks the hard questions too.
“What is it I want to leave behind?”
One of those things is hopefully a world that actively wants to achieve peace. And Gill Hicks is trying, one human being at a time, to make that happen.