We are coming to the end of September Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and today I am thrilled to highlight another awesome childhood cancer survivor and "thriver," Julia Jones, who loves life and appreciates every day. We had a great discussion recently, and she is happy to share her story.
So please let me introduce you to Julia, who turned 30 years old this past May. Julia revealed that in January of 1996, when she was six years old, she went on a trip to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., with her homeschool group for a concert there. Julia then remembered that she began having severe pains in her stomach while at the concert, and once she sat on her Mom's lap, her Mom felt the tumor immediately. Once home, she was promptly whisked to the ER for X-rays and other tests in which they inevitably came back indicating a tumor. Ugh! Every parent's worst nightmare for sure!
Julia explained that that tumor was identified as Wilms Tumor, which is a rare kidney cancer that is highly treatable and usually in one kidney. Shortly after her diagnosis, Julia's tumor was surgically removed and she also received chemotherapy and radiation from January of 1996 through September of 1996. Her surgery and all treatments were at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Julia reported that she tolerated all her treatments very well, and that her Mom, Shari, found many resources and support for the entire family which helped tremendously throughout her cancer journey.
Julia was born in Maryland on May 4, 1989, to Shari and Dave Jones. She has two brothers, Jared, 31 years old, and Justin, 27 years old. She maintains great friendships with her protective brothers and is very proud of them in all their endeavors. While going through her treatment, it was Justin's toy dinosaur who got chemo right alongside Julia's chemo and that was all okay with all of them. She said she was home schooled up to third grade, then transitioned to the public schools and graduated in 2007 from Linganore High School in Frederick, Maryland.
Thankfully, Julia continued her education at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA (North of Hershey) and earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2011. She worked a couple of jobs in after school programs in psychology, then returned to school to earn her Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Shippensburg University in 2016. She loves her field of interest because she knows she is helping people.
Currently, Julia works for Hoffman Homes for Youth in Littlestown, PA (near Gettysburg). It's a psychiatric residential treatment program for children suffering with mental health diagnoses and behavioral issues due to severe trauma, abuse, neglect and loss. She loves her job here and even does not mind the long hours worked each day.
When I inquired what she does for fun (we must admit her job is quite stressful), she said she loves to hike (she's close to the AT (Appalachian Trail); travel and volunteer with her Church: World Harvest Outreach. In fact, Julia and her Church, which she affectionately said is like family, are headed this coming Christmas to Tanzania to spend the holidays with orphan children at the City of Hope School.
She also claimed she loves giving back to others, and can empathize with so many people based on her own cancer journey. Julia said that some of her friends who really struggled with their cancer experience impacted her so profoundly (because she admitted that her cancer journey was mostly uneventful), that she decided that must help and improve as many lives as she can. I love this about Julia, don't you?
Amazingly, this green loving gal is so passionate about her job and always giving back that her "cup is overflowing with love,." This also includes her volunteering efforts with Special Love, Inc. with Camp Fantastic and other camp programs sprinkled throughout the year. Incidentally, Julia was a camper at Camp Fantastic from ages 7-9. Then during her teen years, she helped her Mom with Special Love weekends, and by age 20, she became a camp counselor and never looked back.
Julia is one busy compassionate and passionate young lady. I am honored and humbled by what she does each day; on the job, or in a volunteer role. She is also involved with Childhood Cancer Advocacy at every opportunity (lobbying on the Hill/speaker on Post Traumatic Growth). She is very inspiring and most recently began drawing and painting; giving most of her pieces away to family and friends. Bravo, Julia!
BSoleille! The bright side of #CelebratingOthers with Julia Jones!
Photos from Julia:
NOTE: Julia's various hair lengths - from St. Baldrick's events (shave heads to raise funds for various cancer programs)
Welcome to my Blog of my daily gratitude and photo of the day!
Since January 1, 2012, my goal is to write a daily sentence or two (or paragraph or two) about gratitude of the day and to include one photo (at least) that I took that day (but will add others from time to time). It has definitely been a challenge most days throughout the past eight years, and welcomed the challenge again this year - 2019. I hope you will continue the ride with me!