UA-8412995-1 The Southport Globe: Southporter Julie Beck is on a mission

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Southporter Julie Beck is on a mission

Julie, a longtime Fairfield resident and oncology nurse, is leading a team that includes her daughter, fellow RN’s and others in the 2nd Annual Closer To Free Bike Ride on September 8th to benefit cancer research and patient care.  And she is inviting you to help make a difference and get involved.
“I care for leukemia and lymphoma patients as part of the amazing medical team at Yale-New Haven Hospital’s Smilow Cancer Center,” says Julie.  “People think it’s a hard job, which it is, but it’s so meaningful and inspiring for me to help patients and their families at such challenging times in their lives that I view my work as a privilege.”  Julie understands what it is like to be on the other side. “Years ago, I took care of several members of my own family with advanced cancer.  Those experiences are part of what motivated me to become an oncology nurse. I think most families are touched by cancer in some way.  It’s a diagnosis that turns your life upside down.  Many of our patients find themselves in the hospital just days or even hours after being diagnosed.  When the come to us they are embarking on a journey they could never have imagined.  My goal every day is to make sure that my patients and families know that while they may be on a journey they didn’t choose, they are not alone.  All of us at Smilow are right there with them - supporting them.”
“This bike ride is another way for us to come together and support our patients and their families by raising money for cancer research and patient care at Smilow Cancer Hospital.” Julie and her team hope others will follow their lead.  “Our team has 7 members so far but my goal is to have at least 20. The bike ride on September 8th is designed for all levels. There are 25, 65 and 100 mile routes.  People can get involved at their own level as bikers, sponsors or volunteers.”
Julie Beck
Julie’s 22-year old daughter, Sarah, is joining her mother in her efforts.  She is a graduate of Fairfield Ludlowe High School (class of ’08) is just beginning her graduate studies at Columbia Teachers College. “When my grandpa died of cancer when I was 13, it had a big effect on me,” said Sarah.  “My mother has shown me what a difference you can make in cancer patients’ lives and I want to help.”  Sarah is active locally working last year as a paraprofessional in special education at Holland Hill School and as a senior staffer at the Wakeman Boys and Girls Club. The mother-daughter duo is training together this summer to complete the 65 mile route.  They feel getting others involved is important. “Cancer is actually not one disease, but many different ones, so finding cures is not simple,” said Julie.  “Many cancer treatments require extended, ongoing inpatient treatments - so we really get to know our patients.  They become like family.  It breaks my heart when the doctor has to tell a patient there are no more treatments left to try.  But there is definitely hope. In the last five years alone, I have seen the dramatic results that new treatments developed and tested right here at Smilow have had on my patients, and I want to help further these efforts in as many ways as I can.” 
“My daughter, colleagues, friends and I are riding in this event to raise money and awareness.  We hope our efforts will be contagious and that many others will join us. I would love to have an army of my friends and neighbors join my team.”

Across from the Pequot Library look for the sign for the bike ride posted on Westway Road,
there are pamphlets available for bikers, joggers and walkers who pass by this major biking path.

Those interested can also learn about the ride by going to the main ride website: I was profiled as the Rider of the Month for May. This is the link to all of the Rider stories:

I am so proud of my colleagues and the work that we do here and really want to make a difference. Here is one final link to my profile page. It tells the story of one of my patients from the Westport area:

There is also a great, short Youtube video from last year's ride:

To learn more about the Closer to Free Bike Ride to benefit Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven go to or contact Julie at or 203-256-0309.

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