Young Hero is More Than Just A Cancer Survivor
** In recognition of Stand Up To Cancer Day, OGTV is sharing this story of a young girl with the courage, spirit, and strength to overcome multiple surgeries and treatments while still smiling and an encouraging other kids to keep up the fight. **
Julia Katharine Alexander is a one-of-a-kind little girl, who is rarely seen without a super bright smile on her face. She's just so full of joy, love, and compassion for others. Everyone who knows her can recall something profound, inspirational, or just plain funny that Julia's shared with them. At home, they are known as "Julia-isms." Regardless of your encounter with this sweet girl, you leave feeling a little warmer and happier inside.
On December 14, 2014, Julia was diagnosed with a Grade II Ependymoma brain tumor. Since then, she has bravely endured three major brain surgeries, five minor surgeries, eight rounds of chemotherapy, and two months of radiation therapy. While she is not considered NED (No Evidence of Disease), the people in her life are so grateful that her tumor remains stable.
With no coaching from her parents, Julia has volunteered for nearly 10 organizations and participated in even more philanthropic activities in the past year. Now with a stable tumor, Julia uses her giving spirit and story of survivorship to help other kids affected by cancer through her role as an Ambassador for the largest private funder of childhood research grants, St. Baldrick's Foundation.
This foundation is a volunteer-powered charity that funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. Government. Senior Director Danielle Leach considers the selection and development of the Ambassadors to be a critical part of the success of the organization. "Every year St Baldrick's picks 5 children as Ambassadors, 4 who have survived and one who has passed," she explains. "We do this in order to represent the actual childhood cancer experience. We take these children to the brink of death in order to survive. While the statistics may say they are surviving, but are they really thriving? That's what we are trying to make happen."
Julia loves her role and the opportunity it allows her to help others. "When I became an Ambassador," she says proudly, "it was the happiest day of my life." Watch as Julia attends their annual "Brave The Shave" head shaving event to help and support volunteer head shavers and other children who are going through treatment. When you see her energy and all the ways that she supports her peers, you too will fall in love with her tremendous spirit of giving.
Information about this organization can be found at: https://www.stbaldricks.org/
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