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 Nov 17, 2017

Passion to give back burns brightly for Jess

A remarkable young woman, Jessica Gilchrist has travelled a road no 27-year-old should have to tread. Diagnosed with cervical cancer and having to confront her own mortality at such a young age has not only made her stronger, but determined to give back too.

“I was standing in a line for sushi when I took a call from my doctor. She said ‘We’ve found cancer cells in your cervix’. You never think you’re going to hear something like that, it was such a traumatic moment, I was in shock and I didn’t know what to say or think or do.”

What followed for Jessica, busy running her own tourism business, was a string of decisions, the hardest of which was accepting she would never be able to become pregnant.

“I was in shock, I remember ringing my partner Liam, I burst into tears, he burst into tears, he was at work.  Same with my dad, he burst into tears. It was just not the option we wanted to go with.”

Then there was surgery involving a radical hysterectomy, followed up with intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy at ONJ Cancer Centre.

It was here that Jessica discovered oncology massage in the Wellness Centre.

“Having someone touch you gently with the beautiful oils and music in the background, it's such a welcome escape from the world for an hour and it helps you to forget about what is actually happening to you.  You’re going through so much emotional and physical trauma that just having a place where you can go to relax is just amazing.”

In an incredibly generous gesture, Jessica and her family-operated business, Pink Boots Hire, are donating $10 from every hire to the ONJ Cancer Centre specifically for Oncology Massage. 

“I realised this could be big opportunity to give back to people who looked after me during my cancer treatment.”

“I’m really passionate about where the money goes,” says Jessica.  “There are so many people going through cancer and I want them to be able to have the opportunity for massage like I did.  When you are going through cancer it’s the little things that make such a big difference.”

Jessica has a maturity and generosity far beyond her years and we are so grateful for her passion for helping others who are going through the stress of a cancer diagnosis and treatment.

In their first two months, Pink Boots have donated over $2,000 towards oncology massage. Additionally, Pink Boots purchased tickets for two tables at the recent ONJ Gala. One of their guests generously gave $5,000 in the pledge on the night. Thank you Jessica and Pink Boots – you are amazing!

You can join Jessica and help by making a donation here.  Thank you.