Ironman for Julia

About Us

Julia Anne Lindsey was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a type of brain cancer, in April 2009.  She had surgery to remove the cancer and then had radiation therapy in Boston, and a year of chemotherapy here in Washington DC.

We thought that she was cured.

On July 12, 2011, Julia had a routine follow-up MRI scan that showed a solitary small metastes . She was operated on 5 days later and the cancer was removed.  Part of the cancer was then sent to Duke University Cancer Institute where it is being used to make a vaccine to the cancer itself, that Julia will receive starting in February.

The Doctor team of world experts on this type of cancer located at Children’s National Medical Center, offered us 4 options, only one of which offers a chance for a cure. 

We of course chose that option, and Julia has completed 4 rounds of aggressive chemotherapy.  Despite this, she has kept up in school and really looks quite good.

Starting in December, she goes to Duke for an extremely high dose chemotherapy treatment to try and kill any remaining cancer cells in her body.  Unfortunately, this is such a high dose that it will destroy her bone marrow, and she’ll get a bone marrow transplant.  She was able to donate her own cells prior to starting chemotherapy, so hopefully she’ll get her own marrow cells back after the chemotherapy and recover quickly.

She has needed and will need lots of blood and platelets, and we’re fortunate that so many friends, family members, and even acquaintances of friends have donated to Julia.

Normally, after the bone marrow transplant, therapy would be complete.  Yet with this type of metastatic cancer, stopping here does not have a high chance of cure.  The doctors at Children’s Hospital suggested we do what I’ll call a “bonus”.   Of all of the “bonuses” available, the cancer vaccine sounded to us like the best choice.

Julia will be given a vaccine to her own cancer, made from the cancer removed at the July surgery. Duke University is currently manufacturing this, and is one of a select few institutions that offer this pioneering therapy.  Interestingly, a number of articles and reports in the news have touted cancer vaccine results, just since we have started dealing with this.  So we think that we are choosing correctly.

This is a new technique, and has shown promise, yet significantly more research needs to be done.

So our family has decided to raise money for Cancer Vaccine Research at Duke University Medical Center.

Last year, when we thought that Julia was cured, one of Julia’s school friend’s dads was going to participate in the Nations Triathlon to raise money for Leukemia and Lymphoma research with Team in Training.  Team in Training is part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society(LLS) and has raised millions for cancer research.  Julia and Jenny suggested that I participate too, as, according to Julia “its money for cancer research dad”.  I complained but with 5 weeks to train, I raised about $5000.00 for LLS cancer research. A week after finishing, I signed up for several more triathlons, and raised another $5000.00 for LLS by participating in the St. Anthony’s triathlon in Florida on May 1.

When Julia was diagnosed with the metastatic cancer in July, exercise was about the only way I could keep my sanity.  Our family talked about how I could train for my sanity, and raise some money for cancer research.  And rather than a short triathlon and a little money, we opted to go big.

So I’m set to run the first New York City Ironman next August 11 and I need your help and support. Please donate, and donate big. All money goes directly to the Duke Cancer Institute and is directed to the cancer vaccine laboratory that is helping Julia and many other patients.

This kind of research is critical to keep other families from having to suffer recurrences and potential loss of loved ones from these terrible diseases.

I’m doing my part. I’ve now gone from doing no aerobic exercise last August 1, to having run 5 Olympic distance triathlons, 2 marathons, and one half ironman.  And to let you potential donors know that I’m serious about my effort, I’m set to run another marathon in May, and a half ironman in Florida 2 weeks later.  All this in preparation for the real ironman event next August.  In the races I’ve done so far, 4 participants have died, but I’m not deterred.

The New York Ironman is a 2.4 mile swim in the Hudson, a nice 112 mile bike ride in New Jersey, and a 26 mile run, mostly in New Jersey, but which crosses the George Washington Bridge and ends in New York City. 

I hope to finish the event in the allowed 17 hours.  And my goal is to raise $100,000.00 for Duke Cancer Institute and Cancer Vaccine Research.

Join me.  Dig deep into your wallet and donate.  Donate for Julia.  Donate for my sanity.  And donate for everyone who may have to go through this terrible cancer torture.

Thank you.


Julia, Wyatt, Jenny and Charlie Lindsey