October was cancer awareness month, and on the 24th of October Qubit was delighted to host Jo Rogers, CEO and Founder of Navistar legal to our London HQ.
Not only is she a personal friend of mine, but she is also a survivor of breast cancer.
Having previously worked together, Jo is a constant inspiration to me and it’s a privilege to call her a friend. Day-to-day she’s an incredibly passionate lawyer always looking to create win-win situations.
I will never forget the day Jo told me she had been diagnosed, how everything seemed to go into slow motion as the news began to register.
Fast-forward to now, five years later and after a tough journey through chemotherapy and a 180-degree change in lifestyle, Jo has been given the all clear
In this QTalk, Jo shared her journey through breast cancer and the three biggest lessons she has learned.
Lesson #1 - Life is magical
A significant event for Jo was when she attended a workshop with her mentor Mike Harris, and she remembered judging other participants for not turning up to the training - ‘how on earth could they miss an opportunity like this?!?!?!
She then quickly changed her opinion, when she found out that one participant, Hannah Foxley, could not make the session that day. She had cancer.
Jo felt terrible and so reached out to Hannah, sending her love and support at such a difficult time. Jo also found an article by Hannah which addressed how hard the breast cancer journey was.
The very next day, Jo was at Bikram Yoga and after the class found a lump in her breast. Consequently, she went straight to her Dad, a long-time GP who said, ‘it’s probably nothing, but you should go get it checked out”.
“It’s probably nothing” was what Jo heard multiple times over the next few weeks.
However, it wasn’t nothing, and upon being told of her diagnosis Jo explained how everything dropped out of her vision and all was a bit of a blur. She couldn’t quite believe that having read about Hannah’s journey, she was about to start one herself.
In that moment, perspective struck and Jo realized life was magical and there were no mistakes.
Lesson #2 - Life is short
We’ve heard this so many times. Life is short, yet somehow it takes something drastic like being diagnosed with cancer to really understand what this means.
Jo shared a story of how post-diagnosis, she was sitting on her bed at home with her parents.
“Seeing your mum cry is hard enough. But when your dad starts crying, that’s really tough”.
They were talking about the future and the uncertainty of it all. They were looking at photos of friends and family.
Jo realized that life truly is about people and connections you make. It’s not about work and climbing the ladder as fast as you can. It’s not about making millions and living in a big fancy house driving a flash car.
At that moment, the people in Jo’s life became the reason for living. And that too was magical. Life is too short to be angry, or devote long hours to work and miss things like her nieces and nephews growing up.
Lesson #3 - Life is what you make of it
After the diagnosis, Jo recalled a conversation with Mike, her mentor. The first thing Mike asked Jo was “What do you love and are you doing enough of it?”.
Jo realized that everything in her life had been constructed not for the love of it, but because she felt she had to live a certain way.
She realized that this was not the truth and it was now time to do the things she loved and make it last for as long as possible.
Life is what you make of it and ultimately the choice is yours.
What the future holds
Jo spoke about the changes she made in her life after going through six rounds of chemo and finally being given the all clear.
Now, she shares her story as often as she can, hence coming along for a QTalk with Qubit. Day-to-day, she runs a successful law practice, working normal hours and striking the work/life balance is the right way. She’s exercising regularly, following a strict diet and meditates for at least 3 minutes a day.
Cancer is such an emotive word, and a disease that has affected everyone. Thank you to Jo for sharing her amazing story and the powerful lessons that sounds simple but we should all try and employ.
To find out more about Qubit's #QTalk initiative, read more from other inspirational voices.