Like many people who receive a cancer diagnosis, Julia Berry had a hard time processing what she was hearing. She got the news in January of 2017 and is still adjusting to her new reality. “It really came as a shock,” says Julia. “I had always been so healthy. I’m sixty-four years old and I’ve never really been sick.”

Julia is a soft-spoken woman who can often be seen talking with other community members before or after Center classes. A retired special education teacher who loves visiting her children and grandchildren, Julia has found additional support for her cancer experience at the Cancer Community Center.

When she first learned about the Center, Julia wasn’t sure it was the place for her. She was nervous about attending programs because she didn’t really want to talk about her cancer diagnosis. Julia eventually recognized that she needed a way to deal with the emotional effects of having cancer. “There’s a lot of anxiety that accompanies cancer. I was very stressed and I didn’t want to take it out on my husband.”

Having practiced meditation in her twenties, Julia started with Guided Imagery sessions. She found they helped her relax, so she began attending other classes at the Center. And she has something positive to say about all of them.

Relaxation Yoga – “Just what I needed.”

Tai Chi – “I really like the instructor.”

Pilates – “It’s helping improve my core strength. And the instructor is very understanding – they all are.”

Julia has also attended educational workshops and classes. “I learn so much. But most importantly, coming to the Center has helped me stay on an even keel – calm and cheerful.”

The low-key environment is one of the things Julia appreciates most about the Center. “It’s an atmosphere where if you want to talk about your cancer you can – but no one’s pressuring you.”

Julia is also grateful that all services are free and she doesn’t have to worry about insurance coverage or additional out-of-pocket expenses. “My husband and I just made a donation to the Center,” she says.  “We’re so grateful that it’s here.”

When asked what she would say to someone who isn’t sure about using the Cancer Community Center, Julia says, “Don’t be scared. I was scared of the exercise classes and now I go to all of them. Do it for yourself.”

It’s clear as Julia speaks that the Center has become a port in the storm that is cancer. She may not know what the future holds in terms of her health, but Julia appreciates that she can count on the support of the Cancer Community Center.

And the Center appreciates her support as well!