Daughter, sister, girlfriend, friend, scientist and breast cancer warrior.
“I think my greatest gift is my ability to bring joyful, positive energy wherever I go. My 2 sisters are my tribe, they are a place of constant love and support and I’ve learned so much from them. My worst day was finding out I had breast cancer the day after my 26th birthday and at the start of my 5th year in my PhD program. Navigating this process in the midst of the pandemic has been especially scary and challenging. But no matter what news I received I have never lost hope and my people wouldn’t let me! A cancer diagnosis comes with a lot of unknown and fear. I fear not being able to get rid of cancer, not being able to have children, recurrence of the cancer, not being able to live a long life with my loved ones, and death. These are heavy thoughts but I know these fears are not my truth at this moment. I find comfort in what my fears are teaching me, they’ve shown me what is really important to me -my life, my loved ones and having my own family someday. I catch myself holding onto the story that I have to fit society’s mold and always show the best version of myself. I want to be vulnerable, real, and to give myself the permission to be me and to be fully immersed in the lows and highs of this journey. I’d tell a 12 year old me to listen to her heart and intuition – that this will bring her happiness. I’d tell her to stop trying to fit in, that there is so much beauty in her uniqueness. I wish we could see the things we have in common rather than those that separate us. As human beings, we all have our unique experiences, but we have so much in common! To me, success is found when you follow your heart and are not afraid to do the right thing for you. Happiness comes from finding beauty in the small things. I’m thankful everyday that I have a place on this earth. I’m proud of my growth and I’m excited about my last chemo this week! I value kindness, fun and authenticity. I’m grateful and confident. I am Julia. I love being me and I love my life.”Julia
Kristie Dean, Julia, 2022. Digital Photograph. ©Kristie Dean. All rights reserved.