Steve Mills meets a Daventry woman whose own battle against breast cancer has inspired her to help others fighting the disease.
JO Davis knows only too well the devastating impact cancer can have on your life and family.
And it is now, after winning a year-long battle to beat the disease, that she has dedicated her time to making a difference to the lives of other sufferers.
She is planning to set up a support group for people affected by cancer.
Jo, who lives in London Road, Daventry, was herself diagnosed with a malignant tumour in her breast in June last year, and faced a rigorous course of treatment.
She was checking herself out when she discovered the lump and detecting it early boosted her chances of recovery.
The 45-year-old added: “When I was diagnosed, they found it had already spread to my lymph nodes. I would urge anyone who spots a lump to get it looked at as quickly as possible.
“It was a huge shock for me.
“You start thinking about the future but what I found was that keeping a positive attitude helped in my fight.”
Jo started chemotherapy from September to December last year and underwent radiotherapy throughout January. She was given the all-clear in the same month but is still on medication to boost her hormone levels. However, she is full of praise for the family, friends and doctors who helped her.
Jo said: “The message I want to get across is that there is life after diagnosis and treatment.”
“I had a lot of support from my wonderful family and friends. The doctors at Northampton General Hospital were absolutely brilliant in helping me throughout my course of treatment.”
As part of her bid to raise funds for Breast Cancer Care, she is taking part in the five-kilometre Race for Life in Northampton on Sunday.
And she has also enlisted the support of her family. Her 18-year-old daughter Jess will be alongside her at the race. And they have both registered to take part in the London Marathon next year.
Jo said: “My husband Adrian and my eldest son Jamie, 21, did the London Marathon this year and they managed to raise £8,000 for the charity.”
Indeed Jo now has resumed an active life since getting the all clear and thrives off a desire to stay fit and healthy.
Her regime includes running four to five miles every day and uses the Reach for Health gym in Daventry, where she works as a fitness coach, three to four times a week.
Jo added: “I used to work at Reach for Health but had been an NHS manager for 10 years. When I went back recently following the treament, I found it didn’t satisfy me and wanted to do something that would help others.
“I would hope people don’t think “that is it” once they are diagnosed. With the right treatment, exercise and diet, this is an illness which can be beaten.
“There are some low times initially and when I first got diagnosed, I was worried what the future would hold for me but now I see light at the end of the tunnel.”
Anybody interested in sponsoring Jo doing the Race for Life can visit www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/jodavis150.
She hopes to run the new support group at Reach for Health.
Anyone interested in joining it can register their interest by calling Reach for Health on 01327 871118.