When I started this podcast, one of the things I wanted to do was chat to my friends so they could share their stories.
I love listening to people’s stories and I’m always left feeling deep respect for the things they’ve dealt with in their lives and the way they’ve dealt with them.
Jo Dolan, the woman I’m talking to today, is one of those women.
She’s highly educated, a volunteer fire fighter and former taxi driver who’s shaved her head twice to raise funds for cancer research.
And she’s now a much sought after editor for PhD students.
Twelve years ago, Jo’s daughter Kate discovered that she had a melanoma.
You might think that having a melanoma isn’t a big deal, I know I didn’t.
I thought you just went to the hospital, got it cut out, maybe take some drugs to help clear it up and then carry on with your life.
But you might just make sure that you use more sunscreen and wear a hat.
For Kate, the melanoma wouldn’t clear.
After two years of treatment, the cancer got into her brain and Kate died aged 21.
What became clear to Jo was that they actually knew very little of their family’s medical history and had they known more, things might – might – have turned out differently.
In the ten years since Kate’s death, Jo’s started to turn her own experiences and insights into a way of helping and supporting other people going through the same kind of thing: being carers to their sick child.
She’s now coming up to her final qualifications as a life coach as well as setting up a website.
Her intention is to help people record their stories for two reaons:
Firstly to hopefully to share them with their children or grandchildren.
But at the very least to record family medical history so that medical professionals have every piece of medical information that they might need.