Hi! My name is Juli. Thank you for visiting my fundraising page! I hope you'll take just a few minutes to watch the video below to learn more about who I am, why I've decided to run a half marathon, and the great cause I'm supporting. For the detailed version, keep reading!
In 2006, at the close of my junior year of college, I receive the shocking news that a freckle on my shoulder was in fact a melanoma. The cancer was found throughout the depth of the biopsy collected, which meant it was most likely advanced.
During the summer between my junior and senior year of college, I had multiple surgeries to remove the cancer and the lymphnodes that were affected. I was advised to take the year off of school to complete a twelve-month immunochemotherapy regiment, but I chose to stay in school while I completed treatment, because I was determined to graduate on time.
I would describe the next year as the most difficult of my life, and although I hope to have many more years of living, I doubt there will be few, if any, as challenging as the one I spent going to school, student-teaching, and doing chemo. But with the support of friends, family, and some very accommodating professors, I made it, graduating summa cum laude, right on schedule.
I completed chemo as I entered the job hunt, and began my teaching career during the first month I returned to life without chemo. Describing myself as unprepared for life after treatment would be a gross understatement. In the coming months and years I slowly re-assimilated into the world of healthy young adults. Life 'after' cancer came with its own set of challenges- recurrence scares, juggling regular doctor's appointments with a work schedule, and determining just how much to share with my coworkers and employer were just some of the unique challenges I faced as a young adult cancer survivor.
It took me nearly three years to truly feel 'normal' after cancer. No one told me that it would be so hard to recover, both physically and emotionally. I believe I am a different person than I was before my cancer experience, and I finally can say something positive has come from my experience.
As a result of cancer, I have accomplished many things I never would have considered tackling before. One of the most beneficial and life-changing decisions I made was to join the Hunterdon Coutny YMCA just a week after I finished treatment. It was there that I fell in love with running and with the idea of pushing the limits of what my body is capable of.
The summer after I finished treatment, I had the experience of a lifetime white water kayaking with an organization called First Descents. Their mission is "to cure young adults of the emotional effects of cancer and empower them to regain control of their lives by experiencing outdoor adventure therapy through kayaking, rock climbing and other outdoor adventure sports."
The Important Part:
As a two-time participant, I can attest to the magnitude of the impact First Descents' programs have on the lives of young adult cancer survivors. The beginning of June, 2011 will mark my five year cancerversary- a date I was told there was a 50% chance I would live to see. To commemorate this milestone, I will be running Boston's Run to Remember half marathon on May 29, 2011. I hope that you will consider supporting me in running my half marathon by giving back to the organization that taught me to live life beyond cancer.
To keep track of my progress as I train (and read about my exploits as both a cancer survivor and a runner) please visit my blog: Hope. Love. Run.
Donating through this website is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to support my fundraising efforts.