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Faces of Hope

Stories featuring Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center patients' strength and courage as they battled and conquered cancer.
Faces of Hope - Breast Cancer Survivor Julia Laursen

Julia Laursen

Breast Cancer Survivor

Just weeks after her 32nd birthday in 2021, Julia Laursen was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer.

She underwent chemotherapy, surgery and radiation as she navigated survivorship over the course of the next year.

As a young cancer survivor, Julia feared she wouldn’t have her unique needs met, which included returning to work and planning for the many years ahead.

“But Harper’s Hope made sure they understood my goals and empowered me,” she said.

The Harper's Hope Cancer Survivorship Program is a comprehensive cancer survivorship program at Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center (MECC) that offers services to help improve survivors' quality of life.

Julia received lymphedema education from Wendy Buchholz, OTR/L, CLT-LANA, and physical therapy from Beth Sunderman, PTA, CLT. The two services played large roles in allowing Julia to work comfortably as a school nurse.

She likes referring to Buchholz and Sunderman as “unsung heroes” during her journey.

“I’m younger for breast cancer,” she said. “I went through every treatment modality. I’ve had a lot of struggles, but they just keep me going.”

Julia was also fitted for a stylish wig at MECC’s Inner Beauty Salon, and she received psycho-oncology and nutrition support – all services offered through Harper’s Hope.

Thanks to a team of providers helping her look and feel better, Julia has a newfound confidence in herself and her future.

“I feel like there’s all these people just rooting for me and wanting me to be the healthiest I can be in this new ramshackle body that’s parts and pieces put back together,” Julia said. “They’re making sure that this old Honda Civic is still going to chug along for a lot more years.”