On Halloween in 2021, Jules had the fright of her life. She was diagnosed with stage four cholangiocarcinoma, a rare and aggressive bile duct cancer that made its way into her body without warning. “I went from being a healthy young mom, to not knowing what the next few months would bring. It was the worst day of our lives,” she recalls.
As a Corporate Culture Expert or aptly named “Happiness Officer”, Jules has made a career out of spreading joy. And while she says the stage four diagnosis feels rather “doom and gloom”, she refuses to let it deflate her optimism. “There are so many treatment advances. I need to hope for the best,” she said.
She began treatment at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre under the care of oncologist, Dr. Kristy Wasson. After undergoing radiation followed by chemotherapy, Jules showed incredible progress. “The typical response rate isn’t great, but it worked,” Jules said, “my first scan showed shrinkage of over 40%.”
After 25 rounds of chemo, Jules’ condition is stable, but with an “incurable” cancer there is no treatment end date. She’s hopeful about the exploration of clinical trials. “I love [Dr. Wasson] and my team. They’re always searching for options,” she said. While actively living with cancer, Jules is celebrating every milestone, from getting out of bed, to a recent one year “cancer-versary”.
Between appointments, Jules stays focused on moments that quiet the cancer. The ones where she can just be a mom or a partner. She also shares her unwavering optimism with others navigating their own cancers through social media. “It’s easy to feel defeated, cancer sucks but I want to spread joy,” she said. “I’m not a typical success story, but thanks to The Princess Margaret I’m not, not a success story.”
With help from programs like Princess Margaret Home Lottery, Jules continues to defy the odds and live every day to the fullest. “I’m fortunate to access this level of care and experience the effects of fundraising first-hand.”