Jordan Gregory: "It has meant such sadness with the loss of my mum, however, it has given me a drive to live my life to the full"

17 June 2020
Jordan Gregory Collage

Since losing his mum, Jordan has been on a mission to raise awareness of BRCA mutations and the fact that men are affected by this too.

“As I sat in the waiting room of Ripley hospital, I correctly anticipated being taken into a room and be told that I had inherited a faulty BRCA2 gene. At the time, I was sat next to my mum, who also BRCA2+ was currently having treatment for her diagnosis of incurable secondary breast cancer. The love and concern I had for my mum outweighed my personal diagnosis. On the same visit my brother was also found to be positive with the same gene mutation. This was, even though expected, a massive blow to our family. 

Sadly my Mum passed away on the 1st May 2016. It was and still is devastating, a massive loss to me, my family and her large community of friends. She fought the battle with dignity and strength and, like so many, always attempted to help others along her unfortunate journey.

My mum was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 to later return in 2012. Due to this devastating discovery the process began for my mum to discover her BRCA2+ diagnosis. As a result she started to express interest in preventative surgery, it took many attempts before finally in 2014 the correct course of action was offered. However, before this could begin mum received the heart breaking news that her cancer had returned and subsequently was given an incurable diagnosis.

My world was torn apart and I felt lost, however, previous conversations with my mum and my need to raise awareness of the gene mutation loomed large. One of the last times I spoke to my mum, I promised to raise awareness of the gene issues and complete my planned cycle. The words “I love you too” ring loud and clear in my head as this was probably the last communication I had with my mum. 

"I don’t want to make a bucket list when I’ve got an incurable diagnosis, I’d rather do what I want to do right now."

Jordan Gregory

Carrying the love for my mum and a drive to save others by raising awareness, in August 2017 I cycled, with the support a friend, 1300 miles in 13 days- from Salou in Spain, all the way to Derby. We raised over £10,000 and I have kept up my fundraising and awareness efforts with half marathons, the Belfast Marathon, and maintaining my blog “the BRCA Adventurer”. I had a place in the London marathon too which unfortunately has been postponed. I’m so passionate about raising awareness of the importance of men knowing about BRCA, and I’ve enjoyed working with Ovarian Cancer Action by being part of focus groups and giving a male viewpoint on their future work.

What does being diagnosed BRCA2+ means to me? It has meant such sadness with the loss of my mum, however, it has given me a drive to live my life to the full. To seek adventures as often as possible, to push my limitations both mentally and physically. To help others and attempt to have as many positive effects on people’s lives as I can.

Three generations on my mum’s side have died when they were 54, my mum was a few days away from her 54th birthday. So, statistically, I am already more than halfway through my life which has given me a whole new outlook. I don’t want to make a bucket list when I’ve got an incurable diagnosis, I’d rather do what I want to do right now. 

We have to be more vigilant. If you have two or more people in your family with breast or ovarian cancer – see your doctor about genetic testing.

Since my BRCA journey began, I have met so many amazing people who also carry the BRCA1+ or BRCA2+ gene mutation, these inspirational influences on my life have enabled me to remain driven. It is my pleasure to work with Ovarian Cancer Action to help raise awareness of this gene mutation that has ripped my family apart."

BRCA gene mutations increase the risk of breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancer in women, and breast, prostate and pancreatic cancer in men. Carriers have a 50/50 chance of passing it down to their children and you can inherit a BRCA mutation from either your mother’s or your father’s side of the family. Whether you are a man or a woman, if breast or ovarian cancer is prevalent in your family history, you should speak to your GP.

Use our simple tool to assess your risk of having inherited a genetic mutation that could increase your risk of developing certain cancers.

You can follow Jordan’s adventures and fundraising here on Facebook or Instagram.