Julie Wylie is a certified public accountant who graduated from the business school at the University of Colorado at Boulder. A woman with a variety of interests, she enjoys traveling, hiking, biking, swimming and yoga. During the winter, she can often be found snowshoeing with her friends and her German Shepherd, Roxy. Her daughter, Lexi Wylie, says, “She is the most amazing mother anyone could ask for, and I am not saying that just because she is my mom!” When Julie was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it was a complete shock to friends and family alike. Lexi, who is now a student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has found a way to fight back against her mother’s disease. The applied mathematics, computer science and Russian language student at CU Boulder is gathering a group of her ROTC battalion to run the Project Purple Run/Walk to Beat Pancreatic Cancer in Colorado Springs, CO on April 3rd, 2016. Lexi is also planning to run the Surfer’s Path Marathon with her sister, Jennifer, as part of the Project Purple Pioneer Program.
Lexi’s mother, Julie, is an energetic woman who is deeply committed to her family and involved in her community. Julie has been extremely active in the lives of her three children, Jennifer, Lexi and Jessie. Lexi explains, “Every single person in the community knows her for her involvement in her children’s lives. She has done everything from being the head of the PTA at our local schools to being the treasurer for my brother’s football team, to the treasurer for my high school choir. She helps with every single event, from timing swim meets to officiating basketball games.” Lexi is grateful for the things her mother has done for her over the years, from adorning her dance costumes with rhinestones to traveling across the country for dance conventions. “She supports our family and friends in any way she can. She even helped her own mom take her dream trip to Scotland years back,” Lexi says. The three Wylie children have flourished under the guidance of their mother and father, Patrick. Jennifer recently graduated from Stanford and is planning to attend medical school. Lexi is currently an ROTC student at UC Boulder. Later this year she will be commissioned in the Navy where she hopes to become a pilot. Jessie is a freshman at the United States Naval Academy.
In 2015, Julie first began experiencing severe pain in her lower back. The doctor initially suspected that she had a urinary tract infection. The antibiotics she was prescribed seemed to offer some relief, but then the pain returned. The doctor ordered a CT scan, thinking that perhaps her appendix was the issue. Unfortunately, the problem was much worse than originally believed. Julie was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer on December 1st, 2015. At the end of January, the New Mexico resident began treatment in a phase two clinical trial at Honors Health in Phoenix, AZ. The Wylie family is excited to have their mom in this clinical trial, which uses a combination of gemcitabine/abraxane/cisplatin chemotherapies on a three week cycle. They hope that Julie responds well to the trial.
When Lexi learned of her mother’s diagnosis, she began searching for an organization which benefits those with pancreatic cancer. She found Project Purple and was amazed when founder Dino Verrelli reached out to her personally. Trying to navigate one’s way through the medical maze can be a daunting task, particularly when facing a diagnosis like pancreatic cancer. The Wylie family was grateful to have someone in their corner as they tried to figure out their next steps. Lexi explains, “My dad, especially, will tell you that for those who aren’t familiar with the medical field, it is like taking a shot in the dark trying to figure out what treatments to do, where to go, etc. Project Purple is that guide for those who don’t know where to go when faced with the horrible reality of cancer.”
Lexi has chosen to fight back against pancreatic cancer with Project Purple in two ways. She is coming down from Boulder to Colorado Springs, CO to run the Run/Walk to Beat Pancreatic Cancer with several members of her battalion who have rallied around her in her time of need. She and her sister, Jennifer, are also planning to run the Surfer’s Path Marathon in California through the Project Purple pioneer program. This will be Lexi’s first full marathon, but she has previously completed half-Ironman triathlons as well as numerous half-marathons. She and her fiancé, Kalani, love to compete together in endurance events and CrossFit, and she is looking forward to tackling the full marathon distance.
By participating in events with Project Purple, Lexi wants to raise money for critical pancreatic cancer research. She also wants to show her mom how much she loves her and how committed she is in the fight against pancreatic cancer. She believes the support of the Wylie family and their community is providing a source of strength and comfort for her mom. “Ever since she found out about her illness, my mom has been able to see how much the community really loves her. My high school swim team still remembers her and dedicated their swimming at the State Championships to her…and these children aren’t even hers or closely related! The local high school cheerleaders made a video for her telling her to keep on fighting, and these girls don’t even directly know her. My mom has made a huge impact in the community in which she lives and people recognize that.”
Help Lexi as she fights against pancreatic cancer with Project Purple. Donate to Lexi’s 5k fundraising team in Colorado Springs.
You can also make a tax-deductible donation to the link below for her Pioneer Program run:
Pioneer Program fundraiser: