Julia Burns has spent most of her memorable life with cancer. Diagnosed at the age of 5, Burns, now 16, has developed an uncanny ability to make an entire room burst in to laughter.
“There’s always a part in your mind that will cloud you with worry, anxiety and doubt,” Julia said. “I think the most important cure for that is just to smile and laugh.”
She was first diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a form of cancer that impacts developing cells, in 2005. Around 8 years later, near the end of 7th grade, Julia started experiencing frequent stomach pain and started missing a lot of school.
“I thought maybe I was going through puberty or I was just eating something that was right or the chemo had affected my body,” Julia said.
Julia and her parents went to get tests done, and that’s when she knew.
“I had that gut feeling, and I told my mom one night, ‘it’s caner, I know it’s cancer,’” Julia said. “I don’t know how, I don’t know why, but it’s back.”
Right now, Julia is at what she calls her “high point” – fresh off the final round of treatment, making up credits she’s missed because of treatment over the years. She has dreams of eventually going to college, maybe to University of North Florida but she’s not sure yet.
She credits the Child Cancer Fund for helping her feel normal, and wants to share that with everyone she comes in contact with.
“I think every kid deserves something just to make them smile for an hour,” Julia said.
Those smiles come easy for anyone that meets Julia; her story is one of struggle, hope but most importantly joy.