AN inspiring Diggle mum who has raised thousands to help fellow breast cancer sufferers despite her own incurable diagnosis is harnessing the power of exercise.

Jo Taylor, aged 49, who was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer four years ago, had a boost to her campaign to hold exercise retreats on her doorstep with a £10,000 grant from the National Lottery’s Awards for All.

The cash allowed her to stage her second fitness hub which saw 10 women from all over the UK descend on Diggle for two days of jogging, cycling, Nordic walking, yoga and holistic therapy. She now has two more in the pipeline.

“Exercise can help to reduce the risk of getting breast cancer both primary and secondary,” said mum-of-two Jo, who also advocates motivation, strength and support at the retreat.

“It has a massive effect on physical and mental health and for those who are having treatment such as chemotherapy it is such an advantage to be fit and healthy.

“Women who have secondary breast cancer are permanently on treatment. I’ve undergone several operations including major surgery to have my sternum removed and I was out of hospital after five days. That wouldn’t have happened had I not been so fit and healthy. I’m living proof exercise works.

“Cancer affects everyone differently but the women who came to retreat where amazed by how they felt afterwards. Some have never exercised for years but they were surprised by how easy it was to get back into it. Many have carried on and some have started their own Nordic walking groups. There’s no denying the effect these retreats have, also from a social perspective and getting together with others going through the same situation.”

In her bid to spread the word – her ABCD (After Breast Cancer Diagnosis) advocacy website and blog is a bible for many sufferers around the world – Jo is a tireless campaigner for the breast cancer cause, helping woman make informed choices by combing the field for the latest treatments and surgeries available, the best consultants and visiting conferences around the world.

Over the last two years she and her friend Jo Cunningham, and her family and friends have raised just under £20,000 for Christie research, enduring epic bike rides, ultra runs and sponsored walks – all while undergoing gruelling treatment to keep the disease at bay.