London Cypriot Cancer Campaigner Dies Aged 32

Jo Georgiou, a young London Cypriot has died at the age of 32.

Jo passed away on 12th February after launching a public campaign against cancer and devoted her energy to raising awareness of her rare cancer diagnosis, fighting for changes to how patients are helped in terms of receiving the appropriate treatment.

Jo was diagnosed with Synovial Sarcoma, a rare and aggressive cancer in August 2021. After a year and a half of chemotherapy, surgery and other treatments, she sadly succumbed to the disease.

Synovial Sarcoma is a cancer that can come from different types of soft tissue such as muscle or ligaments. It is often found in the arm, leg or foot, and near joints such as the wrist or ankle. Only about 1 to 3 individuals in a million people are diagnosed with this disease each year. It can occur at any age, but it is more common among teenagers and young adults. The exact cause isn’t clear.

Speaking to London Greek Radio in 2021, Jo underlined the ethos of her campaigning work as absolutely vital in raising public awareness, because it was sometimes perceived as taboo, especially for young people.

Jo said that her aims were: “For synovial sarcoma to be spoken about and made aware of especially as so many people go undetected for years – and it’s very common in young people. For cancer to not be taboo… And for people knowing that nothing will prepare you for chemotherapy and I wish there was a help or guide, where people sit 1 to 1, relaying what is going to happen. What to be prepared for. And what benefits they’re entitled to. There are benefits cancer patients are entitled to that aren’t offered unless requested.”

Jo Georgiou shared her story with LGR about how her Instagram account would be helping people in similar circumstances, and to offer some reassurance.

She said, “I started an Instagram journey of my life since my diagnosis, and it is amazing that people contact me to inform me I’m helping them. It means so much to me. I’m helping people who have loved ones going through it, people just starting chemo, and people in remission. People who’ve got other health issues to , even mental health. It’s incredible what sort of platform it’s become. My Instagram following isn’t big by all means, but it feels like a community is forming on there. In my time, if I do anything, id love to form a handbook. A real handbook for patients about to start chemo who’ve just been diagnosed. From one real person who’s been through it, hand over everything to a newbie… the challenges they’ll face could be helped if I can just make them aware and prepare them for what’s going to happen.”

Jo grew up in Larnaca, Cyprus and moved to London in 2004. She attended East Barnet School where she achieved her GCSEs and A-levels. After leaving school, Jo worked her way up from a Retail Sales Assistant to an Area Manager.

She passed away at the North London Hospice surrounded by her loved ones. She leaves behind her mother, sister, extended family and friends. Her funeral service was held at Green Acres in Epping Forest on 27th February.

LGR extend their condolences to her family and friends and thank Jo for being a passionate, tireless campaigner and inspiration to others with her bravery and spirit.

Article written by London Greek Radio