Race for the Cure: Who We Support

Health & Wellness

25 years ago, Julia Beckham registered for the first Race for the Cure in Little Rock, Arkansas. She didn’t know then that she would register every year for 25 more years, and she didn’t know how personal the race would become when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007.

“I’m an outdoors girl, and it’s something I thought was a worthy cause, so I did it every year for a long time,” she said. “But it really hit home 10 years ago when I realized I was going to be the one being supported.”

Since being diagnosed with breast cancer, Julia has made it her mission to do something good with it. “It’s a group you never want to join, but my philosophy is that any time you belong to a group, you give it your all,” she said. “So I’ve tried to be a help to people that have been diagnosed since I was.”

Throughout her cancer journey, Julie said she never stopped moving forward, and she won’t stop now. “I just march on,” she said. “I personally had a lot to live for. Our family motto is soldier on.”

Julie described her experiences running the Race for the Cure. “There’s no other feeling like it,” she said. “Once, I took my late husband, my son and my grandson, and they were standing on the sidelines to cheer me on. After it was over, my grandson said, ‘Gan, is that every woman in the world?’ He was about three or four, and these women just kept coming and coming.”

Julie said she feels a deep connection with other survivors running the race. “You feel such a kinship to those other survivors, because you have every stage in that group,” she said. “I’ve been in every stage in that group. There really is a sisterhood. It’s a sisterhood you don’t ever want to belong to, but it means so much. You have these young women and old women and people that can maybe not even walk, but they’re out there doing it. That can’t help but be encouraging to everybody.”

Julie said she’s thankful for the JRMC Wellness Center and the gym’s support of the Race for the Cure. “The Wellness Center has been at the forefront ever since it started, and I have always appreciated that they were so involved so early,” she said. “I don’t think I could even rationalize belonging to a gym that didn’t make supporting breast cancer a priority.”

During her breast cancer journey, Julie saw how strong both she and other survivors are. “There are other catastrophic diseases that deserve as much recognition, but you know that when women get involved, we can move mountains. I think we bring that awareness to people, and they don’t have any choice but to support us.”

Julie recommends calming exercises and practices for those going through difficult diagnoses. “For someone going through some kind of life-threatening illness, yoga is so centering and calming, and I think the more you can be calm and keep your body from being stressed out, the better all your treatments go,” she said. “Prayer was big for me and Bible study and faith, but anything that can calm you and let you know that there’s someone with you is important.”

Julie has advice for younger women who are battling breast cancer. “Have faith in your doctors, seek outpositive people and know that treatment has come so far, and breast cancer is almost always treatable,” she said. “Be as positive as you can. Find a support group. Look at breast cancer as an opportunity to find out who you are. It’s not a fun experience, but you can make it something that you can grow in. You don’t want to learn that way, but don’t waste that time.”

As a breast cancer survivor, Julie has seen the purpose in her struggle. “I always look at adversities as an opportunity to grow,” she said. “If I can use it to help somebody, then I don’t know if I would say it makes it worth it, but it gives you a purpose for why you had to go through that. That’s why, when you march with those women, you think, ‘If they can do it, I can do it.’ And if they see you with that pink shirt on, they come up and say, ‘Come on. We’re with you! You can do this.’ And really, you wear it with pride.”

Julie is continuing to stay healthy, live positively and of course – support Race for the Cure. “I have a saying that I say every day,” she said. “It’s ‘any day you’re vertical is a blessed day.’ So anything I can do to promote healthiness or encourage somebody else, then it’s worth my time.”


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