“I may not be able to walk a mile in your shoes, but I will walk beside you and let you hold my hand until you can dance in your shoes again.” – These were not Julie’s actual words, but after listening to Julie speak and from what I have come to know of her over the past 2 years, this is how I have come to view this lady. Julie is the Macmillan Information and Support Manager at Leighton Hospital.
When I started my blog, the idea was to talk only to men and women who had or were going through cancer but refused to be defeated by the disease. After all, how can you understand my journey if you have never walked in my shoes? But just because someone has not gone through what you have gone through, does that mean they can not understand? Indeed, sometimes in life, you need someone to view the game from the terraces in order to provide a different point of view. This does not make them less of a C-Life Hero in my eyes. This is why I decided to include Julie among my C-Life heroes even though she has not gone through cancer herself.
Julie is a wife and mother, her kids are 14 and 23. She joined Leighton 5 years ago when the Macmillan centre was only an information centre with one volunteer. Her vision was for the centre to be more than an information centre, she wanted a holistic service without barriers that were locally receptive.
The first thing that Julie did was to open the doors both literally and figuratively. The only time her office door is closed is when she is helping someone and protecting their privacy and dignity. It is clear that Julie did not become a Support Manager to pay the bills, but rather to make a difference.
When she starts talking about the Centre, her whole face lights up, and she becomes very animated. She had grown the Centre from 1 volunteer to 29 volunteers. From just an information centre to a centre that provides the following services;
- Meet and Greet
- Information Centre
- Counselling Service
- Steering Group
- Complimentary therapy
- Outreach programme
- Pause for Hope – annual prayer service
- Hope Course – 6 week after treatment course
And most recently teamed up with Bentley Rotary Crewe to provide a garden refurbishment within the treatment unit so patients can have something to look at while having chemotherapy.
She has grown the coffee mornings from just 1 in the centre to anything from 16 to 21 throughout the hospital.
I asked Julie how she has managed to put all this together and in such a short space of time. Julie just laughed and said, ‘By never turning anyone away. I can always find a way to utilise the help offered, but I also make sure that the things that we implement are sustainable. So partnering with people can help in making things happen.’ Julie’s vision for the centre is for services that are connected.
And yet Julie does not see why I would think of her as a C-Life hero. To her, she is just doing a job that she is paid to do. Her vision is to provide a service that can help people long after she is gone and that can continue to grow.
In the time that I had been talking to Julie, people have been coming in and out of the office asking questions, dropping off donations, confirming appointments, and asking for updates. Julie just takes it all in her stride and does not even miss a beat. I can tell it has been a long day, but she greets everyone with a genuine smile and no one is hurried out. I asked Julie if she just goes home and goes straight to bed as her job is so obviously very demanding. But Julie does not slow down when she gets home!
She is an Akela (cubs leader)
Training advisor for scouts
Yoga teacher training
Registered chaperone for children’s shows
I am more in awe now than I was before. This lady brings new meaning to the word selfless and the Macmillan Centre and Leighton Hospital is lucky to have her.
Julie’s favourite C-Lash are the Eylure C-Lash Natural Buy Now