Terminal illness sparks mum’s business idea

Kim Girbin - Founder of insidejot.com SOURCE: FACEBOOK

An Auckland woman’s struggle with terminal cancer has inspired her to become an entrepreneur with a cause, as she encourages others to chronicle life’s everyday adventures.

The entrepreneur behind the vision is 39-year-old mother and grandmother Kim Girbin, who was diagnosed with late-stage colon cancer last year.

With a prognosis of less than two years to live, Girbin has just launched Jot.: a business selling bespoke notebooks with a difference.

Each notebook contains a system to keep track of life’s everyday adventures.

Girbin has also introduced what she calls the “one on one” programme. For each notebook sold, she donates another to someone with cancer via oncology departments throughout New Zealand.

“Writing things down has been crucial to me as I go through treatment,” Girbin says.

“I create lists and reminders for myself because there are so many appointments and things to remember, and that’s getting increasingly hard with the brain fog chemotherapy and treatment bring on. This is a way to look back on and keep track of life.

“I want to help others going through cancer like me and help them share their journey. That’s why I launched Jot. and the one-for-one programme.”

Girbin’s own journey with cancer started in June 2016 when she was diagnosed with late-stage colon cancer that spread into her lymph nodes.

Her diagnosis came just five months after her own mother died of cancer. Girbin is a solo mother to her 20-year-old daughter, and grandmother to a three year old girl and one year old boy.

Her cancer has spread too far to be treated by surgery so she undergoes chemotherapy three days a fortnight to prolong her life.

“The chemo is nasty. My nose bleeds regularly and some days I feel like I’m sleeping my life away. I’m just so exhausted and the fear of having my daughter lose me the same way I lost my mother is crushing.”

Girbin’s doctors tell her that she has up to two years to live, but she is determined to beat the odds.

Her new business gives her a creative outlet, and on her good days she plans to continue “living life to the max by getting out and about around New Zealand.”

The notebooks come in a range of colours, are designed and printed in New Zealand, and sell online at www.insidejot.com.

“We like to keep things simple, a life full of adventures rather than things,” she says.

That’s what her notebooks are really about: living life despite the odds, and chronicling each adventure to share with family and friends. It’s how Girbin plans to beat those odds and how she encourages others going through cancer to as well.