In memory of the wonderful Julie


Just Treatment patient leader, who sadly died in January 2019. Here we remember Julie and her contribution to our work.

I wouldn’t be involved with Just Treatment if it hadn’t been for Julie. She was a sticky thing, collecting ideas, people, plots and plans as she moved through life and pulling them all together to make sense of each other. She had the most incredible ability to make difficult things enjoyable and bring humour to tragedy. It was Julie who told me when I first met her that I had a “hat-trick” of metastases, as opposed to her “full-house”, an analogy that I have continued to use for it’s transformative ability to make you feel like you are winning when you’re losing. Topsy turvy, Julie turned the world on its head every time I spoke to her and had endless surprises up her sleeve. She stays with me “always in my pocket” daring me to be more fearless, to commit more, to embrace more, to give more... Now she really has the limitlessness that she embodied for so many of us while she was alive.

- Emma

When I had the idea of trying to organise patients denied access to medicines on the NHS because of high prices Julie was one of the first people I spoke to. She had already been involved in the battle for the breast cancer medicine she needed, trastuzumab-emtansine (Kadcyla), and was a prominent voice calling for access to other treatments.

Chatting over coffee I began to get to know the funny, wise, optimistic, understanding, humble, energetic and encouraging woman Julie was. I left believing that the idea that became Just Treatment could work. Since then Julie has been vital to what we do - stepping up to lead through her participation the NEON spokesperson network, offering brilliant advice on our strategy, making us laugh when we needed to, and setting the tone for how we treated each other and the values we espoused.

But more than anything - like everyone I’ve spoken to who knew Julie - the best gift she gave us was constant inspiration and encouragement. She was a brilliant woman and will be dearly missed. We couldn’t have created Just Treatment without her, and we will fight on for fair access to medicines for all in her honour. May she rest in peace and power.

- Diarmaid

I met Julie initially through an online group for women with breast cancer, and was seeking women who had the same metastatic Her2 diagnosis as me.  We shared tips and . research online, and then finally met in 2017 when I was on a trip to London.  We hit it off immediately and last year she joined the NCRI Advanced Disease group with me, as a patient advocate.  She wowed all the professors and oncologists in the room with her presentation on brain mets, and her plea for more research into them.  She was a highly valued member of the group and made a big impact on all the healthcare professionals, despite only attending 2 meetings.  

I remember her as an incredibly inspiring, positive and knowledgeable woman, who took charge of her diagnosis and who always had time to help others.  She will be hugely missed, and her death demonstrates how far we still have to go to be able to manage this awful disease.

- Lesley

I only met Julie in person once, but she left a lasting impression. Every time I think of her, I can clearly envision her huge smile, her beautiful, lilting accent, and her totally infectious laugh. She had such warmth which she passed on to everyone she met. Julie was extremely knowledgeable about cancer and drug access, and she was a hugely important part of the JT team. We will all miss her presence and contribution immensely.

- Carolyn

From the first day I met Julie she just radiated energy and enthusiasm. She had this infectious laugh which I can still hear so clearly in my mind, a huge beaming smile, and a sort of groundedness that made you feel safe whenever you were with her. Despite dealing with really serious health problems of her own, Julie was completely committed to doing whatever she could in the battle for fair and affordable treatments. Her selflessness and dedication were incredibly inspiring, and even though she's no longer here that energy of hers will continue to influence me. I know she'll be deeply missed as a wife, mother and friend, but also as an incredible campaigner without whom Just Treatment may not have existed. I hope that in our campaigning we may be able to do her memory some justice.

- Wiz

I met Julie once in person to discuss Just Treatment tactics and strategy  and enjoyed her extremely sharp wit and insights. Her involvement made the discussion a pleasure to be part of. I will miss her and remember the many wonderful twists and turns we took that day!


You were an inspiration to me when we met - your laughter and fun , your lovely Mum and your sheer determination - I’ll remember you forever.

- Esme

Diarmaid McDonald