Jess Weller’s story

Getting diagnosed with a life threatening illness is never something you expect to happen, especially when you are young, healthy and on your OE on the other side of the world.

Jess Weller was living the Kiwi traveller’s dream in London, working as a teacher and travelling Europe. She was fit, active and carefree, and the world was her oyster. She was in her ‘happy place.’ Four months into her visa, in June 2013, Jess was diagnosed with Stage 3, aggressive breast cancer. She was just 27 years old.

“I was scared. I knew nothing about breast cancer,” she says. After eight rounds of chemotherapy, her golden mane was gone and she felt lost, wondering whether she would ever get back to her ‘happy place.’

One day, at her teaching job, she demonstrated a forward roll to a class of 7-and 8-year-olds. Her wig fell off, revealing her bald head. One child asked what had happened to her hair, and she replied: “I got really sick and I lost it.” That was a turning point in her healing process, and a catalyst for breaking down the fear that surrounds cancer. Talking about her experience is what gave her purpose.

On completion of treatment and returning home to New Zealand, Jess founded The WELLer Network to educate young New Zealanders about cancer and to encourage those who’ve lived through a health challenge to share their stories and empower young people to have healthy conversations that could save their lives.

“Sharing my experience is a privilege, I’m lucky to be here. It is so important that we embrace talking about difficult subjects like cancer because a life threatening diagnosis can happen at any time,” says Jess. “I try to use a little bit of humour when I speak. You never know how an audience will respond but if you have a bit of a laugh you can shine a light on the subject and have a really healthy conversation that helps to change the fear around the disease and that’s the key to what we are trying to do.”

With creating The WELLer Network, Jess has delivered content to educate and inspire thousands of young New Zealanders regarding the prevention and awareness of cancer – in particular breast health and also speaks about the patient experience, resilience, mindset and emotional intelligence. Jess helps to promote healthy messages regarding being breast aware from age 20 and to know your normal so you can identify what isn’t – any changes, see a medical professional immediately. Early detection is your best protection.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @thewellernetwork

More Real Life Stories


Get the gift you really want by sending a not-so-subtle hint.

This year I would like the

Send hint to:

limit 19 characters
limit 150 characters
*These fields are required
They don't want to get the hint

Unfortunately, {0} doesn’t want to receive emails from ghd, so we cannot send them your hint. But don’t worry, here's a couple of ways to get what you want, including:

  1. Leave not-so-subtle hints with strategically placed magazines and the ghd adverts circled
  2. Share our social posts so they #getthehintdarling


Thank you for sending a not-so-subtle hint for the gift you want. Unfortunately, you have hit your limit for today, but come back tomorrow to make sure you get your most wanted ghd products.


Increase your chances of getting the gift you really want by sharing your hint on social.

Send more hints

Be sure to get your dream combo and send more hints.