"My first reaction was probably a word I wouldn't be saying but I was like, 'Oh, my.'" Julie Thompson found out she had cancer three years ago.
"I don't think anything prepares you for what is to come," says Thompson. And what came was treatment after treatment.
"I started chemotherapy on my birthday in December that was the beginning of a new life."
Thompson underwent three months of chemo followed by six weeks of daily radiation treatment but she also started talking to others about her disease.
"After I was diagnosed in September I talked to my older sister who is seven years older and she said, 'oh, hadn't had a mammogram for years,' breasts were a little lumpy bumpy, she ended up having breast cancer as well," Thompson said.
Thompson says it was her regularly scheduled check ups that caught the cancer at an early stage, ultimately saving and changing her life.
Thompson said, "Early detection is everything and again look at my sister's situation."
It was Thompson's treatment at St. Mary's Hospital that led to her into a job working in the hospital as a medical assistant and later a clinical researcher; a position she says allows her to contribute to the fight against cancer.
"What we are learning today makes the difference, it changes the world."
Thompson is now a three year cancer survivor and says she is happy to be playing her part in the fight.