By supporting Q Radiothon you will be making a real difference to the lives of families affected by cancer and terminal illness across Northern Ireland. At the age of 39, Julie Scates was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She amazed everyone with her positive attitude and fighting spirit. Her partner, Steve, shares their story.
“Initially when Julie received the diagnosis in 2014 we were told that she has 6 to 8 weeks left to live, but we weren’t willing to let this be the end. I went home and researched our options, making lots of calls and sending numerous emails. We found a hospital in Manchester called The Christie that said they could treat the cancer and that Julie may have a chance of beating it, so obviously we jumped at the opportunity and she started chemo a few days later. I was amazed at how quickly they could start treatment. Julie was travelling back and forth for chemo and this obviously took a toll on her, but she remained so positive throughout. She was an inspiration.
Living every day to the fullest
“Julie then had a big de-bulking surgery and a few hours after the operation we were told she had the all clear. It was an amazing feeling. We always knew at some stage it might come back, but Julie lived every day to the fullest. She didn’t let it bring her down. We went on a fantastic holiday to South Africa and when we came back, we were told the cancer had come back and we could take some time, go on holiday, before starting treatment again. So, we went to Sorrento and it was honestly one of the best holidays we’ve ever had.
“Julie was a very positive person, she was obviously deflated when she got the news it had come back, but she was unbelievably upbeat. She had such strength and didn’t let it beat her. There were definitely challenges, but she was a very successful, intelligent and charismatic person. She used this charism and drive to get into lobbying and raising awareness as much as she could.
Home away from home
“After further treatment at the City Hospital in Belfast, they suggested that it might be time we consider looking at the option of a hospice. Obviously your first thought of a hospice isn’t great, as you know its nearing the end. But we went to have a look at Marie Curie and I was surprised at the atmosphere, it didn’t feel medical at all. To me, the hospice is like a home away from home. Julie spent her last three months there, passing away on 30th March this year. The nurses were unbelievable, the doctors fantastic. We got to spend really good quality time with Julie there and can honestly say we had some really fun times there – all the family would come to visit. Her three children and I would often stay over. They made us feel so welcome and they couldn’t do enough for us.
Trying to rebuild
“It’s been hard since Julie passed away, it’s trying to rebuild some sort of life. Typical of Julies character, she had made all the arrangements for her funeral, down to the music and readings and she also said she wanted her ashes scattered in Capri, where we spent our last holiday together – so I’ll be travelling there soon to do that. I’m hugely thankful for all that Marie Curie did for the whole family – the nurses became friends and I will support the charity that supported us in a difficult time in any way I can.”