Breaking down isolation barrier

Woman inspired to bring cancer sufferers together


Jo and Gavin Marx at the San.

A ST IVES woman affected by cancer has taken a step forward in making a difference to the lives of others.

Jo Marx, 48, said she was distraught after losing her father to cancer 25 years ago

— followed by a close family friend more recently — and wanted to do something to ensure other sufferers were aware of the support and help available.

On Sunday, Ms Marx held a cancer support morning at the Sydney Adventist Hospital (the San) in Wahroonga

— highlighting the services on hand to patients and giving those affected the chance to come together.

“Seeing a few friends deal with being diagnosed with cancer, it can be very isolating, especially when they have physical changes,” the co-founder of not-for-profit charity It’s About Us said.

“They don’t feel well and they don’t want to go out in public, and I just wanted to do something to help others who are struggling or dealing with cancer to feel beautiful.

“I just thought it was a great opportunity for likeminded people, who are going through something like this, to actually meet.”

Ms Marx, whose husband Gavin Marx works as director of the San Integrated Cancer Centre, said the information session highlighted services including yoga, tailored lingerie for mastectomy patients and skin care, as well as make-up and techniques for those with hair loss. The occasion also involved talks from cancer survivors and support organisations.

I just wanted to do something to help others who are struggling or dealing with cancer to feel beautiful
Jo Marx

“It’s heartbreaking when you see someone you care about go through something like being diagnosed with cancer,” Ms Marx said.

“It doesn’t just affect them, but there’s also a ripple-on effect that affects everyone around them — their friends, children and even the healthcare workers going through the motion of helping them process the information.

“It’s really important cancer sufferers are aware that they are not alone, and that’s what this information session was about.”

Ms Marx said she hoped there would also be a flowon effect from the day, where she would have enough interest to potentially form a support group of some sort.

“Starting a walking group is an idea, but I really want this to be something more than a one-off,” she said.