Using a challenging experience to build a community resource

Magic 89.9 Breakfast Announcer Jacqueline Cowan discovered her passion for radio and community at a time she was facing a life-changing challenge that would test her, but provide the clarity to define her dreams. 

In 2012, when Jacqueline was just 17, she was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, relapsing twice and undergoing 33 rounds of chemo and stem cell transplants over two years. 

Jacqueline took the world-shaking event and turned it into a positive when she made it to the other side and decided to use the experience to direct her life towards sharing stories of resilience like hers.

Seeking experience, Jacqueline volunteered at Brisbane’s 4ZZZ before COVID-19 and lockdowns struck. 

Facing another setback, Jacqueline decided to use the time to push forward and use her new skills by starting a podcast about a subject near her heart.

That’s how the Cancer Culture podcast was created.

“It made me take a step back and consider doing something that would make a massive difference for people, utilising my broadcasting knowledge & wanting to give back to those who were affected by cancer,” Cowan said.

“The podcast focuses on coping mechanisms, mental health, having a sense of hope in the hardest times of your life, storytelling, human connection and people’s truths.” 

“It is a resource to help people feel as though they aren’t alone on this journey and thus far people have been saying it is doing exactly that.”

“It’s an open, honest, real retelling of someone’s experience with a dreadful disease.”

Cancer Culture covers all areas created by the ripples of cancer diagnosis, including remarkable stories of loving devotion, resilience as well as a doctor’s perspective.

“The podcast interviews many different people and I anticipate connecting with a lot more people who have fought ALL kinds of cancer, from all different walks of life, age, race, spaces, family members of people affected by cancer, oncologists, social workers etc,” Cowan said.

“I think it is a podcast for everyone, regardless of their relationship with Cancer.”

“In each episode, there are incredibly important lessons to be learnt and there is something to take away from each person.”

“There is so much resilience, hope and kindness in this world and I hope my podcast can be a good resource and example of that.”

When asked about dealing with the complex emotional nature of the podcast, Jacqueline said she finds it “both challenging and cathartic.”

“It’s challenging in the sense that I am discussing people’s lives, the deaths of loved ones and incredibly difficult times for different people. It is very sensitive content. As an ex cancer-patient, I also worry about my own health and my family and mates’ lives, it has been a tough balance to try and put anxiety associated with relapsing in the back of my mind vs. living my life and doing something important like this podcast.”

“It’s cathartic because hopefully I am helping people and allowing people a safe space to talk about their lives and how cancer affected them.”

In recent times, Jacqueline’s broadcasting passion has sent her across the country for a role as a Breakfast Announcer at Magic 89.9 in South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.

“I began my journey in commercial radio 5 months ago, so everything has been a highlight. Every day is both incredibly rewarding and challenging at the same time. I have learnt more about myself in the last 5 months than I have in a very long time,” Cowan said.

“I’m also incredibly proud of myself for moving across the country to a place I’d never heard of and or knew anyone. It’s was scary, but has been so rewarding & now I know I can do anything I put my mind to.”

“I love people and radio, I have felt that way from a young age. Capturing people’s stories and being fully immersed in my local community is incredibly important to me.”

Jacqueline’s challenges taught her some powerful lessons that have become fuel for motivation. 

When asked what her experiences taught her, she provided the biggest lessons incorporated into her life:

  • “Live every day as if it was your last (corny as all shit … but true)!” 
  • “Say YESSSSS! To a majority of things, always throw yourself in the deep end, even if it makes you shit your pants haha.”   
  • “Don’t stress the small stuff, there is a solution to every problem.”  
  • “Go with the flow.”
  • “Be kind … to everyone … and the universe will return the favour.”
  • “Manifesting is REAL.”  
  • “Tell your Family and friends that you love them every chance you get.”

Cancer Culture can be heard on iHeartSpotify and Apple Podcasts

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