Spotlight on Medulloblastoma: Jean

Legacy Ambassador, Jean Mitchell spoke to us about her diagnosis with medulloblastoma brain cancer for Childhood Brain Cancer Awareness Day – September 26.

What’s your connection to the RCD Foundation and Connor’s Run? 

When I was 16 I was diagnosed with brain cancer (medulloblastoma). I had heard about the Connor’s run through friends and the rowing community but it wasn’t until my diagnosis where I started to get involved with the foundation and met the amazing Liz!

How are you participating in Connor’s Run this year?

This year I will be doing the full 18.8km run with a friend within our 5km radius which is daunting because running is definitely not my strong suit but we have been practicing every weekend for it.

Can you give us an update on your rowing career?

In the 2020/2021 season I was able to make my first Australian U23 team. It was a huge honour to wear the green and gold for the first time as it has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. I am so proud that I was able to get back to a high performing level after all my treatments. This season I am now a senior and am currently trying to get into the National Training Centre in Penrith with the dream of going to the Olympics.

What are some of your favourite hobbies?

I love horses! I have a horse named Icon and he is the best. My favourite thing to do is showjumping and I hope to start competing again when I have more time! I also love art/music, going to the footy (go Dees) and going to the beach.

How does seeing so many people participate in Connor’s Run to raise money for brain cancer make you feel?

It is so awesome! To see that many people who are willing to support you because they recognise an important cause. As someone who has had cancer it also gives me hope that one day we can put cancer behind us. If this many people support RCD every year then the lives of other people with cancer are bound to get easier, whether it be through research, care or development.

Is there something you’d like people to know about brain cancer that they may be surprised to learn? 

I couldn’t taste salt for a whole year and now that I can taste it again I’m obsessed with it (P.S. chips actually taste like nothing with no salt). I also can’t have lollipops or chewing gum anymore because when I would have chemo I would be able to taste the chemicals, so I would suck on lollipops and chew gum to get the taste out of my mouth but I ended up classically conditioning myself to vomit when having them again (!)

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I think Liz Dawes is absolutely amazing.