The courage of a young mother is inspiring others in the fight of their lives. Julie Prater battled brain cancer during and after her pregnancy and this weekend she'll continue to show her strength at the "Head for the Cure" 5K in Plano.
Prater was diagnosed with brain cancer when she was just eight weeks pregnant with her second child. She knew something wasn’t right after she had a seizure.
“I got up to get my son who was a year old and I started having a seizure. And I had enough time to call my husband’s name and then I blacked out,” she said.
Scans of her brain later showed a tumor.
“It was just really shocking. I’m a nurse so I kind of new the severity of that. It just was really shocking and I was really scared for me and mainly for June, my daughter that I was pregnant with at the time,” she said.
Prater underwent life-saving surgery while pregnant. Her doctors said there isn’t a lot of research about removing tumors in pregnant mothers.
“They were able to get the majority of the tumor out,” she said.
Her treatment afterward was delayed so she could try to carry her daughter to term. But towards the end of the pregnancy, her tumor started growing.
“So they kind of encouraged us to do radiation right after surgery. But we really, me and my husband, kind of decided to hold off on that until we saw growth for the sake of June. I kind of wanted her to not have anything that she didn’t need. But it started growing,” she said.
She was forced to start radiation treatment in her third trimester. Fortunately, June was born healthy a few weeks later.
Prater went through a year of chemo and her condition has continued to improve since then. She still has seizures and had to learn how to walk again.
The “Head for the Cure” 5K helps raise money for people who are battling brain cancer. It also helps fund research. Prater especially wants to see more research done for cancer patients who are pregnant.
Prater could only attend the awards ceremony for her first race two years ago because she couldn’t walk without the use of a walker. She still can’t run but she plans to be out walking Saturday morning because she’s passionate about brain cancer research.
The 5K race begins at 8 a.m. at Oak Point Park in Plano. For more information, visit www.headforthecure.org/north-texas.