Cancer survivor heads to Washington to advocate for advancing medical research

Posted at 7:22 PM, Oct 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-06 20:34:41-04

47-year-old Julie Cook of Missouri Valley, Iowa, can't imagine life without her granddaughter Jadah. But, a breast cancer diagnosis in January of 2013 almost killed her.

“The protocol is just to prolong someone's life with Stage IV Cancer, it’s not to save it,” said Julie Cook.

Cook was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer which had spread to other parts of her body.  Cook was given 16 months to live.  There are currently no effective treatments.  She says it was a surgeon who performed a biopsy and genetic testing who saved her life.

“She said I’ll remove your breasts and have somebody remove your ovaries,” said Cook.

Cook says in most cases doctors don't operate on Stage IV patients, rarely is it effective.  But, Cook underwent surgery and almost four years later, her cancer is dormant.

“I really feel that everybody deserves to have life saving treatment that's why I said I have to go to Washington,” said Cook.

Metavivor, a Metastatic Breast Cancer awareness research and support group has organized a trip to Washington DC to advocate for advancing medical research and improving access to quality healthcare for individuals impacted by Metastatic Breast Cancer or MBC.  

“I’m from a town of 2000 people.  I have to get out of here to tell people my story because they are not going to find me,” said Cook.

Thirty-percent of all breast cancer patients will metastasize.  But, only two-percent of research funding goes to MBC.  Next Thursday, the group will educate congress about MBC and raise awareness about the funding discrepancies.

Cook has done many things to raise money for her trip, including holding weekly bake sales.  This Sunday from 5-7 at the Eagles Club in Missouri Valley a BBQ will be held for Cook.  All proceeds go towards her D.C. trip.