Adam Black, Editor
The Ashland Beacon
Mathew 19:26 states: With men, everything is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. Those words could not ring truer for Julie Vinson.
Vinson, who is an instructor at the Ashland YMCA, has been raising awareness about cancer and sharing her story with anyone who will listen.
“I want people to know that God is there and with God and family, anything is possible,” Vinson said.
Vinson’s story starts in 2009 when she spoke with God and felt it upon her to tell her mother that she had a feeling she was going to have cancer.
“I told her, and later my husband that God was going to give me cancer to bring him glory either through my death or through my life,” Vinson said. “After that, I started seeing 9/11 everywhere and it scared me because of everything that happened in 2001, but I would see it everywhere. It was very weird.”
In 2017 after getting her wisdom teeth removed, the personal trainer woke up one morning with a pain in her shoulder region. Thinking it was just a reaction from the anesthesia, she went on with her daily life until her shoulder and arm started turning purple.
“Once it did that, we started getting concerned,” Vinson said. “My husband took me to the hospital and at first, they thought it was a blood clot.”
After some tests, it was confirmed that Vinson did have a blood clot, but that was not all.
“They said I had one, but also asked the question, why?” Vinson said. “They looked closer and saw something much larger and admitted me to the hospital.”
After running more tests throughout the evening and night, Vinson recalls her doctor coming into the room, not her smiling self as normal.
“She came in and said OK, Julie, this is serious,” Vinson said.
It was serious, indeed. After talking to her doctor, Vinson found out that she did have a large cancerous mass pressing on her heart and was diagnosed with cancer on 9/11, 2017.
“She told me it was quite large and looked like lymphoma,” Vinson said. “It was crazy. I went from being a normal person who had no symptoms, hiked, ran and everything to being put in ICU.”
With more tests, a near-death experience of her heart rate dropping and treatment that looked to be intense, Vinson was life-flighted to Cleveland Clinic for more tests and to officially start chemo five days a week.
“This was definitely a God thing, the whole time I know God was watching over me,” Vinson said. “The doctor I was assigned to is one of the only doctors there who worked with patients like me.”
Once a treatment plan was worked out, Vinson traveled back and forth from Ashland to Cleveland to receive chemo for six months. During that time, she fondly remembers how supportive the Ashland YMCA was to her.
“They were so good to me,” Vinson said. “They had fundraisers for me. We never talked about money or worried about money, because God provided through the YMCA and its staff and members.”
Vinson shared that throughout her cancer journey, the YMCA was always there supporting her, including March 13, 2018, when Vinson found out she was officially cancer-free.
“God had told me on September 28, 2017, that I would be cured and to get those results just confirmed everything to me,” Vinson said. “After that, I slowly started making my way back to the Y hosting some classes and the whole time, they were always asking if I needed anything and checking on me. It’s a family here.”
Vinson still can’t believe all that the Y has done for her and gives God thanks every day for the Y and God getting her through her life-threatening disease.
“It is just a big family here, they were stopping by my house and sending me cards, the Y is what kept me going,” Vinson said.
Now back to full health and regularly working at the Y, Vinson is looking to give back to the family and community at the Y and start a program for people who have had or has cancer.
“This is not something that will happen overnight, but I want them to have a place they can come for free and participate in a cancer exercise program and experience the family here at the Y,” Vinson said.
With Vinson’s family at the Y, her family and her relationship with God, Vinson said she has been blessed.
“I always had faith in God and I knew he was going to take care of me,” Vinson said.
Now hoping to raise more awareness about the disease, Vinson has hosted a variety of fundraising events, including a walk/run at the Ashland YMCA and is currently selling T-shirts and bracelets.
“It has just been amazing the support I have received and how awesome the Y has been. I strongly encourage anyone to become a member of this organization and see the family and magic in this place.”