In October 2010 Julie Clements was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 35.
“There was no family history of cancer,” she said. “I was the first one. The hardest part was when I got the phone call from the nurse informing me that it was cancer. It didn’t seem real.”
Clements, who is the editor of the El Dorado Times, had surgery, then endured eight chemotherapy treatments over 16 weeks. The chemotherapy was followed by five weeks of radiation.
“They were very aggressive with how they treated it because of my age,” said Clements.
For the past two years, she has walked the survivors lap of the Relay For Life.
“It’s always nice to see all of the survivors who are out there and I look forward to it again,” she said.
This year, Clements will also be speaking at the Relay For Life’s survivor and caregiver reception on Thursday, June 13. The reception will be from 6-8 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, 430 Eunice.
She was chosen as this year’s honorary survivor and will be sharing the story of her cancer journey.
“It was quite an honor,” she said of being chosen as honorary survivor. “I was surprised when they called and asked. I’m happy to be able to share my story and hopefully be an encouragement to others.”
At times during her journey, Clements wondered if she would be able to make it through.
“Physically, the chemo treatments were hard,” she said. “One of the hard parts was realizing my limitations, especially during chemo. I thought I should be able to do everything I did before. I didn’t have the energy to even do half of it.”
She credits her faith in God, family, community and fellow members of Real Life Christian Church for helping her endure the treatments. She appreciated all the meals provided and the prayers offered on her behalf.
“I met numerous people who had cancer and survived,” said Clements. “They offered support and encouragement. It was always encouraging to hear their survival stories and see how good they are doing now.”
She also relied heavily on her husband Jim throughout her ordeal.
“I couldn’t have made it through without him,” she said. “He was always there for me. Even in the hardest times of treatment, he always remained positive, which was helpful because sometimes I wasn’t that positive.”
At the survivor and caregiver reception, Clements hopes to spread some of the positive attitude Jim shared with her.
Page 2 of 2 - “I would want people to know that while at times it may seem like you’re not going to get through it, you will,” she said. “Just remain positive and keep up a good attitude.”