WHEN Julie Carney went for a routine ultrasound scan four years ago little did she know she was about to have her life turned upside down.
At just 34 years old she was diagnosed with cancer in her kidneys and eight months later she was told it had spread to her lungs and was incurable.
Despite the devastating diagnosis and admitting she has no idea of her own lifespan, Julie does not let the disease get her down.
Brave Julie has told her story to the Mail ahead of tomorrow’s Race for Life that will see more than 1,000 women taking to the streets to raise cash for Cancer Research.
She will even be taking part in the run herself and is urging other women to join in the campaign to find a cure for the deadly disease.
Julie said: “I will never write myself off, I will fight it as best I can.”
In a touching interview with the Mail, Julie, who still goes to work and regularly exercises, says she takes each month as it comes, hoping that one day a cure can be found for the disease which has transformed her outlook on life.
“There’s no point in looking back and thinking what if,” said Julie, who lives in Hartlepool’s Bishop Cuthbert estate with husband Jason, 35, who she said has been a huge support since the diagnosis in 2008.
“I have to be optimistic, they might find a cure tomorrow, you can’t live life thinking of the worst all of the time.”
Julie visited the University Hospital of Hartlepool four years ago completely unaware she was suffering with cancer.
She was undergoing a routine ultrasound scan when medics discovered the tumour and immediately set a date for surgery to remove the cancerous kidney.
But in January 2009 Julie was told the cancer had spread to her lungs and was incurable.
“I can’t really describe the way it feels to be told that,” she added. “I guess I was just in total shock.” Julie says she has since got to grips with the cancer being part of her life.
She takes medication every day which she describes as oral chemotherapy and along with Jason works at Quorn Foods, in Stokesley.
She also exercises regularly.
“I need to try and keep myself in the best shape I can, that helps with the medication,” said Julie.
“There are rough times, it was especially hard at the beginning.
“But to be honest I try to put it to the back of my mind, I don’t have it at the forefront of my thoughts. I just take it on a month-to-month basis.
“It’s not a very well known cancer and it’s particularly rare for my age group.
“But at the minute the drugs are in control of it, I don’t actually have a given life span.
“I just come to the hospital, keep taking the drugs and carry on with my life as normal as I can.”
The 5k run begins at Coronation Drive – not Maritime Avenue as earlier mentioned in the Mail – at 11am.