On May 24, 2018, Julie was diagnosed with an extremely rare and aggressive form of cancer, Adenoid Carcinoma of the Trachea with additional salivary and cricoid cancer. The tumor has choked her windpipe. Julie's cancer is the result of her time as a second responder at 9/11. This cancer as it is for all people with cancer is a journey of learning, courage, and challenges. She has had continual complications from the trach tube they put in place on July 23, but has now completed her radiation and the week of November 11 will begin brachytherapy. Julie will be the first patient for UC Denver's Brachytherapy unit. Like many others her treatment at Sloan Kettering planned for the month of October was canceled (while she was in NY awaiting treatment.) There is a backlog for 9/11 responders, much red tape, tremendous challenges and difficulties to be faced and dealt with and meantime patients from Sloan Kettering's 9/11 program are being kicked out even as they are in the process of treatment for cancers in all stages and even in Stage 4. (Please see her update dated 11/11.)
She continues to cough a lot, has had trach bleeding scares, had other health complications related to treatment, has difficulty talking and eating but well, her smile stays in place and she looks more than less like those golden sunflowers she spent the summer growing!
Julie has been and will be, unable to work during these months of treatment. The trach tube and the treatments make that impossible. As the sole support of her family and with Kate in college, working for her has typically meant working multiple jobs to keep the roof over the heads of Julie, Jack, and Kate. She takes her role as Mama Bear seriously and up til now has handled the sole support role with some serious aplomb. But, with lost income and the bills piling up, with a high co-pay, red tape on the Sloan Kettering and 9/11 fund coordination (Sloan is out of network) the costs of treatment and living are enormous. Although she is trying for any grant she can get and working to cut through the months of red tape and bureaucracy, she is a long way from being able to meet her financial needs.
We have convinced her that her aplomb needs our help.
It was our idea (those of us who love her!) to set up this Go Fund Me for her.
Every day Julie inspires us with the power of her journey, with her honesty, determination, and courage and with her ability to see the beauty and humor each day, in spite of... These last 10 years for her were seriously challenging before the diagnosis of this rare cancer and she has been called upon to be courageous time after time. But her bright spirit and determination continue to shine brightly and her gratitude runs deep. Each place she goes and waiting room she sits in she meets others challenged with suffering and cancer and is spending time learning about their challenges, their diseases, their pain. She already has multiple plans to work in advocacy for other cancer patients especially those who have 9/11 related cancers or are in the high-risk category for same. Many people do not know those risks. She wants to work on their behalf every chance she gets. Meantime, she has to get well, survive and survive financially.
Julie's world is big and her presence, bigger. Her heart is the biggest of all.
She has appreciated all of the beautiful words, thoughts, letters, posts, images, songs, and each piece of encouragement you have given. And she will appreciate and be immeasurably grateful for your financial support as she continues her journey.