Oh, girls just wanna have fun.
Yes, there’s a real sense of fun to Jo-Anne Taylor. This 50-year-old marriage celebrant knows how precious a gift life, and love, truly is. And she knows how to celebrate.
Even in describing her cancer journey, while nervously awaiting further testing on the extent of her diagnosis, Jo is bubbling with energy.
Jo’s mother, Mary Wilson, fought breast cancer for 15 years before passing away from a secondary cancer at Mater in 2010.
To honour her, and celebrate her own breast reduction surgery this year, Jo decided to organise a fundraiser for Mater Chicks in Pink at Black Marble Bar in Fortitude Valley.
As she puts it, there was no way she wanted “the girls” to go quietly into the night. Not without a proper send-off.
“I wanted to take the girls out one last night out on the town,” she laughs. “Take them for a spin on the dance floor...but it wasn’t to be.”
Cue the ultimate party-pooper, COVID. Jo’s fundraiser was postponed, but she went ahead with her breast reduction at Mater Private. It proved a smart decision.
“I wanted the reduction surgery for years, but I’ve been scared to do it, worried about scarring,” she said.
“But I’ve always had issues, pain, fibrocystic lumps in my right breast, mammograms and ultrasounds—I knew something just wasn’t quite right.
“A week after surgery the plastic surgeon rang to say the tissue remaining in the right side is completely dotted with Lobular Carcinoma in Situ (LCIS), but there’s no clear information on the margins.
“I’m fortunate what they have found is classified as pre-cancerous, but the specialist is concerned they don’t know what else is in there, so it’ll require ongoing tests.
“Without the surgery, who knows, it may have become really invasive.”
Throughout October, Jo is resting up with her two sausage dogs, Audrey and AJ.
“I’m putting all my energy into healing, it’s good for my mental health, trying to be as positive as I can,” she says.
“I’m taking a leaf out of mum’s book—she was always so brave and staunch. She was an absolute trooper.”
When fully recovered, Jo plans to relaunch that big, fun night on the town. Look out, Black Marble Bar.
After all, laughter is the best medicine, and as Jo would say—‘oh, girls just wanna have fun’.
Putting the fun into fundraiser, Jo-Anne Taylor.