Jess Wellers' Story
Jess Weller founded The WELLer Network out of her own experience of health challenges. Jess was diagnosed with depression in her final year of university in 2007 at age 23 and has since struggled and overcome her own mental health challenges. Unaware of the need to change her life at this time Jess continued to live her life to the fullest which often meant she was very stressed and depression would often be hanging about. In 2013 was diagnosed with an uncommon form of aggressive breast cancer while on her OE in London at age 27.
Jess was lucky she listened to her body and caught the cancer in its early stages. Jess had no family history of the disease and subsequently did not test for any of the genetic mutations that can increase the chances of an individual getting breast cancer including BRCA 1 & 2. After going through 15 months of active treatment away from her family and on the other side of the world while working full time as a teacher and travelling Europe having the best time, Jess used resilience to her advantage and used her experience to educate young people about breast cancer so they had the tools to look after themselves regarding breast health awareness.
Coming back to New Zealand, Jess Weller founded The WELLer Network to continue doing this work here. Since The WELLer Network was founded in 2016 through the Inspiring Stories social entrepreneurship accelerator Live the Dream, Jess has spoken to thousands of young people about her experience with BC and piloted The WELLer Network in 2016 by speaking in over 34 schools in Auckland, connecting with over 8,000 high school age students in assemblies and health curriculum classes.
As part of her journey of becoming an advocate Jess has been fueled to share her story due to the lack of clear messaging regarding breast cancer awareness and the lack of breast health education being promoted amongst young women in particular. Jess has been instrumental in creating more awareness in New Zealand and globally through public speaking sharing her experience and via her blog.
Over the past couple of years Jess has seen the value in expanding the scope of The WELLer Network one that focuses on Health and Wellbeing and believes deeply in sharing not only her own experience, also creating the space for others to share theirs - because when it comes down to it - our experience is our superpower and by sharing that we have the ability to change and impact lives.