Jo, who works in the neonatal unit at The James Cook University Hospital, was nominated for this special honour by former colleague, Sue Seargeant. Sue thought Jo should be part of this very special event in recognition of her fantastic fundraising efforts over the years and for changing careers to become a neonatal nurse after daughter Emily needed medical help.
Jo started her working life at 16 as an assistant engineer/design draughtsperson for an engineering company along with Sue who was department clerk and they have been friends for about 12 years.
For Emily’s first two years of life, Jo spent most of her time at various hospitals – including James Cook’s neonatal unit – and being in hospital became part of Jo’s normal family routine.
At one of Emily’s hospital admissions in September 2002, a nurse made a comment: “You do all these things for Emily, why don’t you consider retraining?” This prompted the idea of Jo becoming a nurse and after undergoing nurse training at Teesside University she qualified and started work for South Tees, initially at the Friarage special care baby unit and now at the neonatal unit at James Cook.
Charity work has always been part of Jo’s life and she began taking part in sponsored sporting events at school and trying new things.
After Emily arrived in the world this didn’t change and Jo has supported lots of charities and taken part in numerous fundraising events over the years, many of them sports related. This includes Zoë’s Place, Cancer Research UK and Sports Relief, and she has swum the distance of the English channel for spinal injuries charity Aspire, which got a few gasps from family and friends.
She is currently helping Walk the Walk national charity raising money and awareness of breast cancer while the participants get fit and have fun.
Jo said: “I now work in an area of nursing I love and can give something back to those in a similar situation. Carrying the Olympic torch is going to be one of the most memorable occasions of my life and it is an honour. “
“I find it hard to view what I do as anything extraordinary as I feel have only done what most mums would, take care and provide for their children. So I find it immensely humbling to think that what I do and have achieved was noticed by a friend and acknowledged, I still don’t think it has sunk in.”