ProHealth Care announces 2021 virtual Walks for Cancer ambassador
ProHealth Care has named Julia Unger the 2021 virtual Walks for Cancer ambassador. She is encouraging and inspiring others to walk in support of cancer research and services provided by ProHealth Care. This year’s Walks for Cancer participants can pick a location and date to walk at any point during the month of May.
The West Allis resident found a lump in her right breast in January 2020. Cancer was confirmed after imaging tests and biopsies at the UW Health Cancer Center at ProHealth Care in Pewaukee. A lumpectomy to remove the area of concern and affected lymph nodes was immediately planned.
Unger underwent surgery in early March 2020 as the pandemic was unfolding in Wisconsin. She spent the early weeks of her recovery under the state’s Safer at Home pandemic restrictions.
"While most people were thinking about how to get their hands on toilet paper and disinfectant wipes, I was praying that my treatment plan would continue without any delay. And it did," Unger said.
By June Unger had completed chemotherapy, and by August she had finished radiation treatments. After focusing on a cancer diagnosis and treatment for eight months, she needed to gain some perspective on the next chapter of her life.
"My primary purpose from February on was dealing with health and wellness," Unger said. "I started to think about where to go from there."
Last fall, she worked with her oncology services counselor to move toward a new normal.
"The past few months turned out to be an exciting time for me to redefine myself in a different way, to be more mindful of my health and my life going forward," she said.
In October, she had a partial hysterectomy to eliminate her risk for uterine and ovarian cancer in the future.
Unger credited ProHealth Care’s specialists, nursing professionals and her counselor for providing the care and support she needed to move beyond her diagnosis. That’s why she accepted an invitation to be this year’s ProHealth Care Walks for Cancer ambassador.
"It gives me the opportunity to say thank you to my wonderful ProHealth Care team that worked tirelessly through a pandemic," she said.
This month, Unger is focused on letting community members know that anyone can support locally based cancer research and services by participating in the virtual Walks for Cancer. The Walks theme, "Choose your path," is designed to encourage people to walk individually or in small groups anytime and anywhere in May. Before the pandemic, three Walks for Cancer events were held on the same Saturday in Mukwonago, Oconomowoc and Waukesha.
Registration is available for individuals and teams at ProHealthCare.org/WalksforCancer through May 31.
Everyone who participates in the event will receive a T-shirt delivered to the address entered on the registration form. Registrants will also receive regular email updates about the event and inspiring messages from Unger, cancer specialists and the ProHealth Care Foundation team.
Walk registrants can take photos during their walks and submit them for potential use on the foundation’s Facebook page. Photo guidelines and submission information will be provided to event participants.
Since 1997, the ProHealth Care Foundation has raised more than $7 million through the walks. The funds raised stay in Waukesha County. Funding is used for:
- Research to help improve survival rates of patients with cancer, increase their quality of life during and after treatment, and aid in offering more effective treatment options.
- Patient and family support, including counseling, wig-fitting services and "Thriving" presentations, which help patients manage appearance-related side effects.
- Ongoing educational opportunities for patients and the cancer care team, including programs for cancer survivors.
- State-of-the-art technology and lifesaving equipment.
If you have questions about the event or would like more information, call 262-928-9255 or email WalksforCancer@phci.org.