‘I was so overwhelmed, I cried’ – woman with incurable cancer lives final wish to visit Austrian mountains

Jo Phillips was able to visit Austria with her fiancé Jason Hiles thanks to a £1,300 grant from the Axentis Michael Charitable Trust.

Jo, aged 40, was diagnosed with stage four rectal cancer in September last year. She was originally diagnosed with stage three cancer in October 2015 and it spread to her lungs despite surgery to remove her bowel, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Jo decided she wanted to visit the stunning mountains of Austria before she became too ill to travel.

Jo, who has a YouTube channel to help people who have had colostomies, which is called ‘Got Stoma? Vlogostomy’, said: “After being diagnosed with incurable stage four cancer in my lungs, I decided I wanted to go to a mountain and come to terms with my fate, and create a memory for when it’s time to say goodnight.”

Jo had to have surgery to remove half of her right lung in March this year, but after three months of recovery was finally well enough to travel to Innsbruck.

Jo said: “I’m so grateful to the Trust for helping me fulfil my bucket list – if I never get to travel again I’ll be happy. I’ve always loved The Sound Of Music and Julie Andrews is a hero of mine. To be able to visit the mountains I’ve watched so many times on the screen was a dream come true.”

Jo said the trip was an emotional but magical experience, and added: “On our first day we went up the Nordkette mountain range. I got halfway up and was so overwhelmed I cried. Every mountain had cable cars to the top which was really exhilarating, and the last mountain actually had ski lifts which was so much fun, especially as we weren’t expecting it.”

Michelle Michael said: “Jo’s courage and spirit is truly inspiring, and on behalf of the Trust I would like to say it has been our privilege to have been able to help Jo to achieve her most precious ambition.”

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