Julia L. Heck (1994 - 2022)
Julia L. Heck, (1994 – 2022) was diagnosed with MBC (Stage IV breast cancer) in 2019 at the age of 25. Her journey began by finding out that she was BRCA positive and from that moment on, Julia made the choice to fight the disease head on, not only with humor, but also with a huge smile on her face. Julia made the decision to share her journey, highs and lows, publicly on social media and encourage others to perform self-checks and take charge of their physical and mental health.
Julia grew up in Livonia, NY, a small town outside of Rochester. She enjoyed summers on the Finger Lakes spending time with family and friends. Julia followed in her father’s footsteps and went to college at SUNY Oswego. Soon after graduation, she started her next adventure teaching middle school math in St. Augustine, where she did know not a soul. Staying true to herself, Julia made friends with everyone she met in her new city of Jacksonville. Julia moved on to working as an Implementation Consultant, where she enjoyed being able to travel.
In November 2019, Julia’s life flipped upside down when she was diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer. She moved back to Rochester to be with her loving family to receive treatment at Pluta Cancer Center. A cancer diagnosis did not stop Julia from living her life to the fullest. She moved back to Jacksonville and continued fighting cancer at the Mayo Clinic. While receiving treatment, Julia continued to work full time, purchased her own house, adopted a puppy she named Stella, became an aunt, and continued to travel.
Julia fought hard each and every day and continued to inspire others around her. Julia lost her battle with cancer in the Spring of 2022, but her legacy will live on and be the voice of those that don’t have one.
Julia began the nonprofit organization, “To Heck With Cancer” while undergoing her treatment. Her legacy continues to raise funding for MBC research, about 5% of funding goes to research treatments for those that have Stage 4 Breast Cancer, according to the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network. Education is key and she believed no matter the situation, every person diagnosed with cancer should have a fighting chance.
Here is a quote from Julia:
“This has been a hell of a journey, but has taught me more than I could've ever imagined. I have more goals than I ever did and I want to help people even more than before! My latest goal is to be able to speak about my journey and share this with people because I know when I first got diagnosed, there wasn't much information about Stage IV Breast Cancer in 25 year olds.”