As a 27 year old she was excited about life and looking forward to travelling Europe. It was the next chapter for her. She had left New Zealand behind and London was about to become her new home. She was so excited to be living the travelers dream and was in the best head space she had been in for a long time. Jessica was able to share her passion for learning working as a relief teacher in inner city schools and booked several trips around Europe. She traveled to more than 10 countries in the first couple of months and more trips were soon to follow. That’s when tiredness and pain she could not ignore in her breasts hit in May 2013.
Jessica had been in London only four months when she was diagnosed with an uncommon form of aggressive breast cancer in June 2013. She was on the other side of the world away from her friends and family. She was lost, confused and about to face the biggest challenge of her life. So many questions and so many decisions needed to be made and fast.
She made the decision to stay in the UK and went through 15 months of cancer treatment. Fertility treatment to save eggs, eight rounds of chemotherapy, five surgeries including a lumpectomy that removed the cancer from her body with clear margins, 4 weeks of daily radiation, and a year worth of the breast cancer targeted therapy Herceptin. She was cancer free by January 2014, but the road to recovery was a long one in front of her.
Writing about her experience via a blog helped to keep her friends and family on the other side of the world updated but also gave her an outlet and a sense of purpose to educate others about cancer.
Coming out the other side Jessica wants to continue sharing her story in the hope that it could help the lives of others. She volunteered for a breast cancer awareness charity had the opportunity to go into schools and workplaces to share her story and encourage cancer awareness and spread the self-checking message to young people. She was also approached to do a Ted Talk at London’s Square Mile.
While she was going through treatment she was still able to work full time as a teacher and travel Europe. Now that she has returned to New Zealand she wants the opportunity to speak to New Zealanders in order to empower them to be more in control of their health and no matter the circumstances follow their dreams and do what they love.
Dream it. Wish it. Do it.
“Life is either an extraordinary adventure or nothing”