19 March 2024

When it comes to people living in pain, Giulia Jones sees red - literally

| Sally Hopman
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Woman with bouquet of red flowers

CEO of Painaustralia Giulia Jones will dye her hair red next Monday, 25 March, at Cataldo’s Salon in Civic to raise funds for people living with chronic pain. Photo: Supplied.

Giulia Jones knows what it’s like to live with permanent pain. It’s not like you’ll find her complaining, though. It’s more like you’ll know because she is constantly campaigning to help improve life for other people in the same boat.

Last year, when she was living with breast cancer, she shaved her head for the cause, inviting people to sponsor her. That effort raised a remarkable $26,000. This year, she’s going to colour “what hair I have that’s grown back” the brightest of reds, again as a fundraiser. This time, it’s to help people living with pain.

As CEO of Painaustralia, she knows what it’s like.

“I’m lucky because I’m in remission from cancer now,” she said.

“I’m feeling pretty good, grateful, upbeat and managing just a little fatigue.”

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After being diagnosed with breast cancer last year, Giulia had treatment for six months, was in and out of hospital weekly and suffered chronic pain and nausea. She had surgery, 20 weeks of chemotherapy and then three weeks of radiation treatment.

“I remember when I was diagnosed that a lot of people were shocked. But the support I received really buoyed me,” said the mother of six, who was also a Member of the ACT Legislative Assembly from 2012 to 2022.

“I was in the middle of chemo when I helped with a fundraising event at Parliament House. I knew it was important to talk to the politicians, so I put on my wig and went.

“With Painaustralia, we have some funding, but the government can’t fund everything, so in the end, it is funded by those people in chronic pain and their community. We promise to stick up for them and work towards achieving the change that is needed.”

Woman with shaved head

Giulia Jones after her hair shaved last year to raise funds for Painaustralia at Cataldo’s Salon in Civic. Photo: Facebook.

Ms Jones said that for many people living with chronic pain, the last thing they felt like doing was to keep moving.

“But you have to,” she said.

“It’s not about just taking tablets. You have to do physical movement. The body’s natural reaction to chronic pain is to shy away, but after acute pain, you really need to activate all your muscles again.

“It’s also important to have a great network of people who encourage and support you. If you feel isolated, the pain can tend to feel worse and can lead to depression and post-traumatic stress if the body feels overwhelmed.”

Ms Jones said all money raised would help Painaustralia continue its work.

“One in five people live with chronic pain and they tend to be women rather than men,” she explained.

“We need to talk about it more. It is as huge a social issue as mental health.

“We want to help change people’s lives.”

On Monday, 25 March, Ms Jones will have her hair dyed red at Cataldo’s Salon in Civic at 10 am to raise funds for people who live with chronic pain. Supporters can also dye or streak their hair in support or donate to the cause here.

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