We have been privileged to host many fantastic speakers over the past year or so and this month’s FOUND guest has again offered something totally different to those that had come before.
Jo Bayles cancer story took us on a journey from despair and devastation through to hope and triumph. Her incredible courage, charisma and candid self-deprecating wit had me trying to hold back simultaneous tears of sadness and tears of laughter.
Jo took us through her full experience – from diagnosis to recovery and then current day with her complete change of lifestyle that she says she “wishes she had realised years ago”. Emotions aside (tricky when we are talking about cancer and I’m struggling not to choke as I recount this), Jo’s story is also fascinating and informative. To hear first-hand how someone goes through cancer and not only survives, but comes out the other side “healthier and happier” is, well, pretty much the most amazing story I’ve ever heard and a check-list for How To Beat The Big C. She says that everyone’s experience and plan is different but I can’t help thinking, if it happened to me, then I want to do what Jo has done – she called her plan ‘Jo’s Cancer Attack’ and talked us through every element of what she did to beat it.
Jo’s partner Hadleigh was at FOUND too and I found myself glancing across at him as Jo spoke. He’s a very “matter of fact guy” (as Jo describes him) and you can tell that he’s had a giant role to play in Jo’s recovery. In fact, Jo attributes much of her recovery to her close knit family and the amazing specialists that she met along the way. I have worked with Jo’s little sister Stella for years, both at Propellernet and in my previous agency, and she is a very similar character to Jo. They both have no comprehension of the word ‘no’ and are very much ‘can-do-will-do-right-now!’ people. So it made me smile (and almost start crying, again) when Jo said how bullish (I think the words were “fu*k you cancer”) Stella and their brother Jack were in their attitude and positivity in supporting her.
Jo says “Cancer Made Me Stronger” and while “she wouldn’t want to do it again!” she also says that given the chance she wouldn’t change her diagnosis. If that’s not inspiration enough to start living a healthier, happier lifestyle, then I don’t what is.
Listen to Jo’s talk on Soundcloud:
What’s Your Story?
If you would like to speak at one Propellernet’s monthly FOUND events, then we would love to hear from you. Please send an email to FOUND@Propellernet.co.uk