Jo Menken

Jo is a Brisbane mother who hopes to make a difference in the world by sharing her inspirational story and helping women facing similar challenges by supporting the Brisbane Breast Bank. 

After her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and her aunty was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, Jo had a preventive Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy after testing positive to the BRCA2 gene. This diagnosis (that her 10-year-old daughter has 50 percent chance of inheriting) increases the likelihood of developing breast and ovarian cancer by up to 69 percent. 

Her lifesaving step is similar to the action taken by Oscar winning actress Angelina Jolie, who elected to have preventative surgery in 2013 and 2015.

Jo is passionate about funding research for personalised treatment and preventative options for breast cancer and is hoping that one day there will be a cure. The 35-year old chose to donate her breast tissue to the Brisbane Breast Bank for research purposes. Now healthy, active and back to full strength following surgery, Jo is dedicated to helping others and raising funds and awareness for breast and ovarian cancer research.

 Key Messages

  • I am stronger that I could ever imagine.

  • Nothing is as bad as the mind makes it out to be.

  • I can choose to see things in my life as obstacles that tear me down or moments that can change my life for the better.

  • Look for opportunities around every corner, even in times of hardship.

  • The secret to happiness is to give back and help others without expecting anything in return.

Pauline Smith