In 2007, Jo was diagnosed with breast cancer aged 38 while on maternity leave with her second child. During this time, she saw a lack of information available for patients to support their decision making for surgery and other treatments. This led her to set up ABC Diagnosis a website with a multi-media library of information including blogs, signposting, newsletters, links and educational material and more for patients after they have been diagnosed with breast cancer. As breast cancer treatments evolve and improve, so does the information and content on the website. Jo has also championed the health and wellbeing of patients and runs retreats and Nordic walking groups which support patients affected by breast cancer across Greater Manchester.
In 2014, Jo was diagnosed with Metastatic Breast which cannot be cured. She has undergone around 14 surgeries and had over 150 individual treatments during that time to prolong her survival.
Jo went on to found the charity METUPUK, which is the only charity in the UK focused on advocating and supporting patients with a diagnosis of Metastatic Breast Cancer. The charity is currently running a national campaign ‘The Darker Side of Pink’ to highlight the 31 women that die each day in the UK of Metastatic Breast Cancer.
To further raise awareness of the need for better treatment, more data to support change and more national targets to drive change, Jo led the METUPUK team to work with the Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance and the Mayor of Greater Manchester to host the first conference specifically focused on Metastatic Breast Cancer in June this year.
Jo’s work doesn’t stop here. She has been an active patient representative at the Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance since 2015.
She has developed two infographics to explain signs and symptoms of Metastatic Breast Cancer in clear terms – now given to every patient diagnosed with Primary Breast Cancer in Greater Manchester which have been translated into multiple languages and contributed to lots of education and awareness events.