About Defining Beauty
Our purpose at Defining Beauty is to help young women face their cancer journey with confidence and take back some control of their appearance during one of the most vulnerable times of their lives.
How I got here
This is Jo's Story
Hi, I‘m Jo. I’m a beauty and wellness warrior, wife and mother to two beautiful daughters – and I’m a two-time breast cancer survivor. I was first diagnosed in 2001 at age 26 with a grade 3 cancer after discovering a lump in the shower. Over the course of a year, I underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. As a single woman living alone and just establishing a career, it was an incredibly difficult time.
Fast forward 17 years and I had married my soulmate, had my two daughters naturally and was running my own beauty business. Life was great! But yet again in the shower, I felt a lump. At 43, my cancer had returned.
We have an incredibly passionate team who have all come together through wonderful friendships. Each woman brings amazing strengths and professionalism to this organisation to create a powerful team of strong, intelligent, fun, beautiful and sassy women. We’re a group of girls just trying to make a small difference in young women’s lives.
We want to create something very special for these women and give them a positive experience at one of their most vulnerable times. We share our own stories, tips and advice in the hope that others find it helpful as they navigate their own breast cancer journey.
I was diagnosed at 22 years of age. Before I knew it I was getting full-body scans, blood tests, MRI, CT scans, seeing all different types of doctors. Each day was filled with doctor’s appointments and scans. A week after receiving my diagnosis I started my IVF treatment to collect eggs to freeze where is was able to collect two eggs. I then got put under to have a lumpectomy and lymph node biopsy where they took 8 lymph nodes which all came back negative to cancer. That was a positive! I then started Zoledex needles, followed by chemotherapy treatment where I had four rounds over three months.
I was halfway through a 3 month trip to Europe when I noticed a lump in my right breast. I didn’t have it checked until I returned home and was told it was most likely a cyst. Given that I was only 27 and had no family history of breast cancer, it would be unusual that it be a cancer tumour. But a month later I was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer. From that day everything felt like a whirlwind. I had CT scans, bone scans, appointments with a fertility doctor and an oncology appointment all booked in the space of a week. I was told I would need 6 months of chemotherapy then surgery to remove the remainder of the tumour.
We’re incredibly grateful to have some wonderful Australian brands supporting our initiatives here at Defining Beauty. We couldn’t do what we do without their help and generosity.