Walk, Survive, Walk
Julia Arce’s Breast Cancer Journey Comes Full Circle
Julia Arce had always been healthy and active, which is why fifteen years ago when a member of her marathon training group suggested that they volunteer at a breast cancer charity walk, she jumped right in. Inspired by the overwhelming presence of so many united women going to such physically challenging lengths to raise money for breast cancer, she promised herself that she would do the same one day.
Like so many others, though, marriage, kids, and life happened and her goal to raise money for breast cancer went unfulfilled. Then in October, 2012, everything changed. Annual mammograms were routine for Julia who had a long family history of cancer, and this time, her results came back positive for breast cancer.
Shock and disbelief were her first reactions. “Here I was, 43 years old, married, mother of two daughters- who had just turned three and five- and diagnosed with breast cancer. How could this be? I lived a healthy lifestyle- I didn’t smoke, I drank in moderation, I exercised. I did all the things I was supposed to do. But cancer doesn’t care.” Treatment began, and Julia underwent a lumpectomy and seven weeks of radiation.
Around the same time, Julia began volunteering with the Children’s Liturgy at her church. There, she met Lynne Unglo and Julie Cummings who told her about the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer- a local two day, thirty mile breast cancer walk that raises money exclusively for breast health and breast cancer programs in Georgia. Julia decided to join Lynne and Julie’s walking team, Breasta Fiesta, and participated in the 2015 Atlanta 2-Day Walk, personally raising $3,250.00. The 2015 Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer had 1,000 participants who raised over $1 million. Every dollar raised in Georgia, stays in Georgia.
Now cancer free, Julia is already registered to participate in the 2016 Atlanta 2-Day Walk and excited to raise more money. Julia has no doubt that without her annual mammogram, she would have never caught her breast cancer so early. She’s inspired by the knowledge that her efforts help women who cannot afford breast cancer screenings gain access to them.