Having “survived” primary breast cancer, Jo went on to be diagnosed with metastatic ‘stage 4’ cancer, which was detected in a number of sites on her body. She was never told the survival statistics but knew she had a median life expectancy of another two to three years.
But Jo had other plans, she wanted to live well for the sake of both her family and herself. She also knew that she wanted to support other women.
She knew that exercise made her feel better and she wanted to raise money for the Christie cancer hospital and loved leading 23 people in a 62 mile charity cycle ride between Manchester and Blackpool.
“Exercise really is a pill.”Jo Taylor, After Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Jo wanted to help other women living with breast cancer and the harsh treatments associated with it. This led her to set up After Breast Cancer Diagnosis or ABCD as it’s known.
In between rounds of treatment, she started running retreats which challenged the women to be active and motivated through cycling, Nordic walking, running and yoga. In addition and the friendships developed by the women on the retreat flourished with small support groups.
Through her own experiences and research Jo has begun to gather evidence for the role of exercise in preventing secondary cancer, ‘prehab’ exercise in preparation for surgery and the mental health benefits of exercise for those being treated for and living with cancer.
Last year, having won Big Lottery funding, she ran retreats for 38 women in Saddleworth with another five retreats planned for 2019.
Jo has created a movement, just look at the hashtag #busylivingwithmets on Twitter. She tells the people that she helps “you will be lapping everyone on the couch”, it’s about making little changes that can have immediate and future benefits.
She urges healthcare professionals to encourage exercise and good nutrition for recovery from cancer and its treatments. “Exercise really is a pill” she says, both for mental and physical wellbeing.