After struggling with the symptoms of a bleeding disorder all her life, Jo was diagnosed with Type 2 von Willebrand disorder (VWD) 15 years ago.  

Jo lives in York with her husband and has three children, two of whom also have the condition. Jo is a Doctor of Education and Early Childhood, working as a lecturer and researcher at the University of Hull in East Yorkshire.  

Diagnosis literally saved my life and I know I am not alone.  I wasn’t diagnosed with VWD until the age of 37 and by then I had experienced multiple heavy bleeds during my life.  


“During my third pregnancy, a doctor who’d been present at my previous birth nine years earlier remembered me because he’d been so alarmed by my bleeding. He referred me to the haemophilia centre in Hull who listened to my story and diagnosed my condition almost immediately. Without their intervention, I would not be alive today as my third pregnancy was incredibly complicated.”  

Jo is passionate about encouraging more women who feel they may be affected by a bleeding disorder to recognise the symptoms and come forward for testing.  

“We need to raise awareness of VWD and other bleeding disorders among medical services and the public. There’s a particular need to support women and children who struggle daily with bleeding conditions which are still largely misunderstood and at times unknown. 

“Many women in the UK are experiencing unnecessary severe bleeding and may even die because of a lack of diagnosis – I’d urge anyone with heavy menstrual bleeding to take the symptom checker to help them get the medical support they may need.” 

Talking Red is the Haemophilia Society’s campaign to raise awareness of women’s bleeding disorders. Sign up for Talking Red Live which takes place on 5 March, 2022 in York for a chance to meet other women with bleeding disorders and hear from experts in treatment and care.