A specialist therapist who entertained millions with her the travels across Latin America on TV is now back caring for patients at Stepping Hill Hospital, following lockdown and her own struggles with health.
Audiences fell in love with Jo Gardiner and her teenage son Sam as one of the team duos in TV hit ‘Race Across The World Series 2’, shown on BBC2 earlier in the year, and still available on BBC I-player. The show saw pairs of contestants race from Mexico City down to Ushuaia in Argentina, the southernmost city in the world, with no smartphone, internet access or credit cards, and with only the equivalent price of a one way air fare to survive. The show proved immensely popular with audiences. Though the travels themselves took place last year, the show was shown during lockdown and came as a welcome relief during hard times, and the loving relationship between Jo and Sam in particular touched many.
Jo has experienced the trauma of cancer several times in the past decade, and unfortunately at the end of her travels the cancer was back again, as revealed on the re-union edition of the show. After months of treatment, thankfully the cancer is now back in remission, and she recently went back to her duties at Stepping Hill Hospital, working as a specialist physiotherapist in orthopaedics helping people with arthritis and joint replacements. Jo is currently working at home and mainly carrying out telephone consultations.
As well as being back at the job she loves, Jo is busy on other projects too. Jo has Type 1 Diabetes, and she is taking part in and helping to publicise the Diabetes UK One Million Step Challenge 2020 which takes place between 1st July and 30th September 2020. The fundraising event invites people to challenge themselves and take one million steps over three months, getting sponsored for every stride.
Jo’s adopted son Sam has Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder which in turn led to his having ADHD, and they are also raising awareness for the National Organisation for FASD. Jo is also writing a book on both her experiences of adopting and bringing up Sam with his FASD and ADHD.
It’s been quite a year, but I’m delighted to be back at work supporting patients in Stockport, and I’m very grateful for all the support the trust has given me. The Race was a really amazing experience and has since provided opportunities for me to work with charities that are close to my heart.”