Julia was diagnosed with breast cancer the day before her 45th birthday. There is a strong family track record of breast cancer in her family. Julia is one of three sisters and all of them were diagnosed with breast cancer in their late 30s to mid-40s. Their maternal grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer in her 70s, and their mother in her 80s.
With younger female family members at the front of her mind, Julia is passionate about helping to find prevention and cure measures as quickly as possible. Read her letter below.
Look at you! Who would have thought back in 2008, when you first heard those words, ‘I’m sorry, it’s breast cancer and it’s quite advanced’, that you would go on to be so strong and wonderful more than 20 years later?
You have loved everything pink your whole life – but the pink associated with breast cancer suddenly took on a whole new meaning.
Breast cancer did take quite a liking to your family. It became an unwelcome visitor so many times – to your grandmother, mother, aunty, both sisters, and your cousin. There were times when the unfairness of it seemed overwhelming. If there was any bright side back then, at least it made your whole family very vigilant and diligent about regular breast screening.
It also made you determined to spread the word about screening. Your friends and family and even random acquaintances probably got sick of your endless reminders, Facebook posts etc – but you didn’t care. It was important too that people knew that a family history of breast cancer was only a factor in a small percentage of people who were diagnosed. Too bad our family had decided to scoop that pool!
You also decided to do everything you could to promote research through NBCF. When you look at the amazing research NBCF has funded and fostered, aren’t you glad you did? Because now we have zero deaths from breast cancer in 2030. Zero!!!
Look at all those beautiful women and girls in your family. Your darling nieces, who call you mum, and their beautiful daughters. Remember those horrific times when you faced the darkest days of chemotherapy and radiation? Those days when you had no hair, everything hurt, your skin was burnt, you couldn’t swallow food, and you were so bloody tired. Your greatest fear was not that you wouldn’t make it. It was that your precious girls would go through this experience too, or that you would lose one of them to this awful disease.
Now, in 2030, you know you won’t lose a loved one to breast cancer. What a mind-blowing relief! And, thanks to fabulous research, there are so many better and more targeted treatments that don’t put you through hell to make you better.
On a more personal note (and if I am writing to myself, I guess that’s OK…) you are who you are today – more fabulous than ever – because of what you went through. You love harder, hold people closer, and see things with a lot more perspective. You loved that crazy executive career of yours, but your health also made you realise that a more balanced life would probably be a longer one!
So, you stopped working so many hours, you put a lot of those hours into loving and caring for others, and for making a contribution to the community. I’m proud of you – and I don’t say it very often, but actually, I love you.
Love from the 2030 you xxxx