She’s So Inspiring – Julie Randall

She's So Inspiring

My life has been touched by some uber amazing women whose passion for life and the way they  choose to live it have really inspired me.  A few years ago, I started the She’s So Inspiring series to showcase these amazing stories because I knew that they would inspire others.  Some of these inspiring women are bloggers, some are not, their lives are all different and  they are all incredibly special. I am so honoured that they are sharing their stories and sprinkling a little bit of their awesome right here. May you be wom-inspired!

Meet Julie Randall.

A few months ago, my friend gave me a book and said I had to read it. Her husband had heard the author, Julie Randall, speak at a work related function, he’d bought her book, Patient 71, read it, loved it and passed it on to his wife. She also read it and loved it, who then kindly passed the book on to me. My friend was right, I did love the book. In fact, I had a most unproductive couple of days and sleepless nights because I just could not put it down.

Julie’s story is about love, hope, courage and never giving up. As soon as I finished the book, I reached out toJulie and begged her to be in this series. I was thrilled when she agreed and even more excited when we got to meet in real life. She’s just as honest, positive and down to earth in real life as she is in her book. I’m so honoured to introduce you to Julie, she is  a life lover, a thriver and a fighter. She’s just so inspiring!

She's So Inspiring - Julie Randall 1

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Julie Randall. In 2012 I was a fit and healthy mother of 2 gorgeous girls and a wife of a (sometimes) adorable husband. I had just celebrated my 50th birthday with a cracker of a party. I had called it my 40tenth on the invitation because I was struggling with the whole 50th thing.

My life seemed almost perfect. Little did I know what was just around the corner. It would soon become clear that every birthday is a blessing no matter what the number is.

In June 2012, I had a massive brain seizure on my office floor. As it turned out I had a tumour on my brain, tumours in both lungs, in my liver, pancreas and lymph nodes. It was stage 4 advanced cancer. As the doctor said, it was not good news.

After further tests we found out it was stage 4 advanced metastatic melanoma. It was a death sentence and I was given 6 to 9 months to live. When I told my daughters I had cancer they were absolutely distraught so I went out on a limb and promised them that I would live, even though at the time I had no idea how. What I did know however, was that I  would do anything to keep that promise.

I had chemotherapy to buy some time and then after 3 months of begging and pleading with the powers that be, I was accepted onto a clinical trial in Portland, Oregon in the US. The trial was only for US citizens and it was at full capacity with  70 patients, that’s how I came to be known to the scientists as Patient 71.

She's So Inspiring - Julie Randall 7

Tell us 3 things you are and 3 things you’re not. 

I’m self deprecating, (fun) loving and ambitious, and when I say ambitious, I mean living life to my full potential.

I am not boring, one for BS or complacent.

Complete this sentence, ____________________  changed my life. How and why?

A death sentence changed my life by making me stand up and be counted. It made me realize that life and health are not a given and we all have an expiry date.

I would lay awake and look at my life to that point. It wasn’t a bad life but I certainly hadn’t lived life to it’s fullest. I hadn’t given enough to others, taken on enough challenges or tapped into all my talents. That was a really hard pill to swallow.

I now make up for that every day. I want to be a mentor to my daughters, to show them how much potential we all have inside of us. I want to acknowledge the fear monsters when they appear, then politely tell them. “Thank you for your concern but I’ve got this!” It saddens me that we let fear get in the way of playing our starring role in the world.

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What has been life’s greatest lessons?

I’ve learned a few lessons along the way, as corny as it sounds… Love is always the answer. My family is my priority.

Don’t compare yourself to others, We are all unique and everyone has their shit, no matter how perfect their life looks like on the outside.

Similarly, stay in your own lane and don’t be influenced by the naysayers, surround yourself with positive and supportive people and you will win every time.

A sense of humour is a MUST. Apparently humans who laugh every day live 5 years longer… So start chuckling people!

Last but certainly not least, we have to take control and responsibility for our own destiny, in sickness and in health.

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What is your biggest achievement?

It’s so hard to choose!

My family are one of my biggest achievements, for sure. I have been with my husband Scott for 30 years and we have had more ups and downs than a fiddlers elbow! We drive each other nuts half the time but we are still together and madly in love for the most part. He stood firmly by my side throughout my cancer ordeal and to be honest I’m astounded that he is still sane (although sometimes that’s debatable!)  As for my daughters, well don’t get me started on those two gorgeous girls. They have lived through their own real life horror story but they have come out the other side as strong, empathetic, ambitious human beings who are harnessing their innate talents. I’m so proud of them.

My book Patient 71 is a major achievement. I had never written anything before, so I’m pleased I didn’t listen to my worry monster and followed my heart instead. I’m blown away by the positive reaction to the book and I’m so happy that it’s brought hope and inspiration to so many.

Talking of hope and inspiration, I’m honoured to be an ambassador for an organisation called Fight on the Beaches (FOB) which is run by 7 busy mums whose lives have been touched by cancer and  and feel that it’s their/everyone’s responsibility to do something about it. They’re pretty amazing. I also speak for the hospital in Portland where I had my treatment and at charity gigs – I hope sharing my story can make a difference.

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What has been your toughest obstacle and how have you overcome it?

My toughest challenge was staying strong and not buying in to the forecast that I was going to die. Dealing with the fear monster who was constantly telling me I didn’t stand a chance and that no one else had survived my diagnosis was tough. But over time, I learnt to manage him. And yes, that fear monster was a him, I’d like to think that no female would be that mean to her fellow sister!

In order to be accepted on to the trial, I had to stay strong and healthy on chemo which is a contradiction in terms but with a healthy diet, meditation, yoga and exercise I managed to pull it off. I arrived in Portland 9 months into my diagnosis. I was taking my chance at living, when according to my prognosis I should have been dying.

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Viktor Frankl says “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how.” Everyone needs a purpose, what’s yours?

My purpose at the time of my diagnosis was simple, to stay alive for my daughters. My husband may have found another partner – he’s pretty hot for his age so I doubt he would have had a problem – just saying that makes me feel a bit queasy! However, my daughters would never find another mother. I’m sure a new partner would love them, but not love them like I love them. My girls needed their mum and I was determined to do everything and anything necessary. I didn’t want them to watch me die.

Fast forward to now, I want to love and be a role model to my husband and daughters. I want to inspire and give hope and support to as many humans as I can by sharing my story, writing and mentoring – I went through so much and I want it to count for something, not just for me but for others too.

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What are your words to live by?

Love, laugh, live and give.

If you could have any mentor, alive or dead, who would you choose and why?

Well I’d prefer that they were alive whilst mentoring me so I will go with good old Oprah… Or Opray as my mother-in-law calls her!

If you could play hookie for a day what would be on your list to do?

I pretty much had my perfect day playing hookie day last week. Hubby and I took a ferry from Palm Beach to Patonga, had lunch at The Boathouse, walked along the beach, had a swim, went back to The Boathouse for a sneaky beer and then caught the ferry home. PERFECT! I am a firm believer in keeping our marriage strong and never sitting on our marital laurels. Time out of the house on our own is so important.

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You give so much to others, what do you do to take care of yourself?

We live near a lake so I walk and cycle around it regularly. I love swimming in the ocean – slip, slop, slapping, of course! I love yoga and meditate (not enough though,) I play touch football and make sure I catch up with buddies and my extended family to have a drink and a few laughs. That is a must. I was very strict with my diet when I was in the throes of my illness but now I call myself an 80/20 girl! Life is to be enjoyed!!

Thank you for sharing, Julie.

Let Julie inspire you a little bit more…

on facebook

on instagram 

and in her book Patient 71

You can also watch Julie’s incredible story on 60 minutes

Linking up with Kylie for IBOT

* Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you click to buy the item, I make a little commission but you don’t pay any extra.

  • I saw Julie on 60 minutes and loved her story. She is pretty amazing and those beautiful girls are so lucky to have an awesome mum.

    • That 60 minutes segment is really special, hey?!

    • Julie@patient71

      WOW thanks Natalie, I will pass that message on to my daughters just to remind them Ha Ha. Also I so glad you loved the 60 mins story. I was hard to do but very much worth it. We were thrilled to find out that it was one of the most popular of the year hence they played it again in their Summer Series..Have a fun and happy day! JR xx

  • What a story!!! It’s amazing what modern medicine can do- I hope more and more people are finding the reprieve that Julie did and I will be adding this book to my reading list!

    • It’s amazing how far science has come – I too hope that more and more people can achieve results like Julie and have long, happy and healthy lives.

    • Julie@patient71

      Hey There,

      Thanks so much I hope you enjoy it. Medicine is getting better and more and more people are surviving now but I wont be happy until it it is everyone…JR xx

  • Luce

    I am reading the book at present Sammie.. I am loving it but I get quite emotional I have to put the book down wait 15 minutes and start reading again .Yes Julie is such an inspiration and what a life she is having ……… you certainly have interviewed some very interesting women ….well done ✅

    • So pleased you’re enjoying the book! Meeting Julie in real life was the icing on the cake!

    • Julie@patient71

      Hey thanks Luce. Yes a lot of people have said that. Totally get that. I had to do the same when I was writing it!! But it had to be told with raw honesty as the thing they call Cancer wreaks havoc on the patient and everyone them. I was hoping that by bringing more awareness to the utter devastation is causes tat we all take responsibility in playing our part to find cures.. I have someone new come to me every day for help. There is just too bloody much of it. Anyway you have probably finished it by now…haha. JR xx

  • I love her strength and her passion for life even through all the ups and downs. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to live through a diagnosis like that.

    • Reading the book gives you a really good idea of what it’s like to get a cancer diagnosis, especially one that is terminal. Julie’s strength and determination are formiddable, that’s for sure!

    • Julie@patient71

      Hey Bella, thank you for this.. It was the toughest thing you can imagine. You are a fit and healthy (young) 50 year old and the ‘BOOM” It was surreal for a while but then I had to swing into action after I saw how distraught my daughters and my husband were. I just got focused and has a one track mind on surviving. Although I responded to the trial drug in America. There was no guarantee that I would keep responding so it was only when I took 5 year scans on 60 mins did I know I was cured. But hey us woman are tougher that we think. Have a great day Bella JR xx

  • Oh my goodness! I MUST get this book. How incredible.

  • What a strong woman! An amazing story.

    • Reading is believing!

    • Julie@patient71

      Thanks Nicole, lovely words.. I became a little girl with a big, big story to tell so that’s what I did…JR xx

  • I actually think I saw this book in the library recently! Timing 🙂

  • Omg great interview but I just watched the video clip and sobbed the whole way through. Having just dropped off my 14 yo and almost 13yo daughters at school I knew exactly what Julie was talking about when she was not afraid to die but could not do that to her girls. Off to find part two on you tube hopefully and will definitely be reading patient 71. Please don’t ever stop this series again as I love every interview you have. Xx

    • It’s so hard to watch that 60 Minutes without your eyes leaking. Hope you found part 2 and enjoy the book. It’s a fabulous read!

    • Julie@patient71

      Hey Deb I’m glad you liked the interview. I loved meeting Sammie we are friends now.
      It was tough to do 60 mins but doing that and writing the book is giving hope and inspiration to so many which makes my heart sing.So it was all worth it. And yes it would have been close to the bone for you with your daughters that age. My Girls are now strong, caring, confident girls in their 20’s. with their mum alive and well and can’t wait for the grand kids…more writing, more speaking, more is good,I hope you enjoy the book..Can’t guarantee you won’t need the tissues but hopefully some laughs as well JR x

      • So wonderful. Am reading it right now (alternating with Zookeeper’s Wife so have a novel as well). The whole first 50 pages i had a lump in my throat. Helps knowing you came out the othrr side.

  • Just wow. I’m going to trawl Amazon for Patient 71 now! What an inspiring story, not only dealing with cancer the way that you did, but also not listening to that little voice in your head that tells you that you can’t.

    • It’s a cracker of a read!

    • Julie@patient71

      Hey Kat,
      I hope you found it…and I hope you enjoy it.. We all get those voices a lot. But when you acknowledge their concern and say thanks for your opinion but I’ve go this.. The tend to come in less and less because they are not getting their desired result which is actually believing what they tell you… Sometimes he would say ” You can’t do this..nobody lives though this” so I would say..” That’s your opinion.” You just watch me… .and it worked.. Have a great Monday..JR xx

      • I did find it on Amazon finally last week. It’s sold out everywhere 🙂 It’s on its way to me now though, can’t wait to read it.
        I love the “That’s your opinion” line! And it’s so true too. I’m going to try that one. Thanks so much, have a lovely week xx

  • Amazing. So glad I came upon this post today. What an incredible story Sammie. A story of triumph to and breaking through fear.

    • I love how Julie has triumphed over adversity and faced down those fears – so inspiring!

    • Julie@patient71

      Hey there.
      Thanks for your lovely words.. Yes the fear monster was hard to control but I worked out what he was up to. He was trying to keep me safe and snug in my comfort zone and save me from disappointment . But that wasn’t going to happen because I wouldn’t be here if it did. JR xx

  • Julie truly is inspirational! So amazing!

    • I know, right?!

    • Julie@patient71

      Hey Thanks Ingrid… I just did what ever it took to stay around for me girls.. I just couldn’t imagine them without their mum ( I am actually tearing up just typing this. And.. the thought of my husband swanning around town with some younger, hotter version of me was just way too much to handle!! lol. JR x

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    Wow I must get her book! I love no BS people and besides that her story sounds amazing 😮

    • It’s quite an incredible story!

    • Julie@patient71

      Hey Lorraine,
      I hope you enjoy the book. It’s a rollercoaster ride that’s for sure. Pretty emotional at times but Hey… I’m here to tell the tale..Life is good!! Happy Monday! JRx

  • Oh wow, I can’t even imagine that. I can see why her book had you gripped, this interview had me fascinated too. It was so good to hear her happy ending, and her inspiring words. Thank you for sharing 😉

    • I couldn’t stop reading because I wanted to be sure there was a happy ending!

    • Julie@patient71

      Hi Mica,
      Yes it is a very happy ending indeed and I am so grateful to be here with my beautiful daughters and husband.. I am now and author and a speaker and living a meaningful life.. My Mum in Heaven would have said ” Who’d a thunk” lol. JR x

  • Wow, she really is so inspiring. Parents dying of cancer is a little triggering for me still so I don’t think I could watch the video without putting myself into a decline, but reading the interview was very illuminating. What strength of character Julie has! I wish her and her family many many many more healthy years.

    • She’s pretty amazing!

    • Julie@patient71

      Thanks Rachel. I get it. It can be very hard to watch that stuff in face I had to have a couple of drinks before I could watch it LOL. Take care..and have fun whenever you can.. JR xx

  • Oh wow! What a story.. and what a video. I need to read Julie’s book!

    • I think you will love the book – you won’t be able to put it down!

    • Julie@patient71

      Hey Kirsty,
      Yes, please do read it and share your thoughts,, It was tough doing that 60 mins peice. It took 11 emotional shoots… but all worth it as it has positively affected so many. At lease 3 Cancer Patients got themselves in to clinical trials that they didn’t know about because of the story. JR xx

  • Wow, you definitely nailed the She’s So Inspiring title with Julie! What a story and positive attitude! Thank you for sharing Julie’s story with us x

    • She really is SO inspiring and I’m so honoured that she’s shared her story here. Julie is a dead set legend!

    • Julie@patient71

      Hey Kylie,
      Thanks for your lovely feedback. It was a tough journey but worth every step. I am here with my girls and my man and now have an opportunity to make a difference in the world. I get lots of messages from people everyday thanking me for writing it and telling me all the lessons and positive stuff what they got out of it.. Their ages range from 13 (girl) to a 72 (guy) and everything in between. WOW how lucky am I. JR xx

  • merilyn

    The strength of some people is beyond me sammie!
    Julie’s story on 60 minutes was very emotion packed and also very enlightening …
    brilliant work they are doing in usa … it’s ground breaking! I hope or wish those trials would be here in Australia!
    Amazing Julie and her lovely family! … all the best for the future.
    a beautiful story to give some hope to people with cancer.
    thankyou for sharing
    much love mxx

    • The best bit is that now that immunotherapy is now available here in Australia so that more people have a fighting chance. Julie and her story continues to inspire and give hope others – she’s pretty amazing! And that 60 minutes – I can’t watch without tissues xx

    • Julie@patient71

      Hey Marilyn, Thanks for your lovely words.. Yes these drugs and trials are in Australia now. So there is a lot of hope out there now. Not enough though.. We need more research… I am now an Ambassador for a charity called Fight on the Beaches which is run by 7 busy mothers and have raised over $1,2 million dollars to sponsor individuals to find cures for Cancer. I have been to the labs and watch the amazing work they do. I will work hard so we can sponsor more and more of the. Thanks for your words and your love. Julie R

  • I have heard so many people dying of Cancer here in India. I wish all to read this story, so inspiring. A perfect example of self-willingness and victory over fate. Thanks for bringing this out Sammie.

    • I love how Julie has triumphed over adversity and been her own advocate for her best, healthy self!

    • Julie@patient71

      Hi There Upasna thanks for you comment. Yes.. Cancer know no boundaries so it is us that needs to push the boundaries to seek the best treatment available no matter what and control our mind to keep our bodies in tune and responsive to that treatment. Immunotherapy is the latest and the greatest but needs to be tweaked so it works for more types of Cancers…Just not happening fast enough…….. Re the Book Patient 71… It is available in India via Amazon so it would be amazing if you could share it with you tribe. I am happy for you to re-post the 60 mins story and a picture of the book as 60 mins didn’t mention the book on Air. It is really helping and giving hope to people upsana so any help to spread the word would be awesome. JR PS I will check out the Comeback Minimalist. JR x

  • That bloody fear monster met his match with this woman! Absolutely incredible. Soooo inspiring! Xx

    • Julie@patient71

      Yes Sandra he sure did. Don’t mess with a mother on a mission to keep a promise to her kids.. ..I put him in his place on a daily basis…Have a Monday funday today JR x

    • Julie’s pretty awesome, hey?!