Breast Cancer Survivor Will Go Over The Edge – Victory Center Fundraiser Is Set For September 8

Waterville resident Julie Croy and her daughter Lily will be rappelling down a 16-story building at 300 Madison Ave. in Toledo on Friday, September 8 for the Over the Edge for Victory campaign. Funds will support programs for cancer patients and survivors. PHOTO COURTESY OF SARAH MODINE

BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Compared to six months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation, rappelling down a 16-story building is a piece of cake.

“I’m not going to look down. I’m going to look up,” said Waterville resident Julie Croy, a breast cancer survivor who is going Over the Edge for Victory on Friday, September 8 – a fundraiser for The Victory Center. “I’m not the best at heights, but I know with everything I’ve gone through that I can conquer that. I know it will be an exhilarating feeling at the end, and I’ll be proud of that.”

Right now, Julie is the top fundraiser, with $15,350 raised. She’s also part of the team 3Gen Warriors, which has raised $31,260. In all, more than $179,000 has been pledged to The Victory Center for the Over the Edge campaign, and that means funding to provide services for cancer patients, survivors and those closest to them, said Kimberly Rosinski, The Victory Center’s special events manager.

In 2022 alone, The Victory Center provided almost 10,000 services at no cost, without government funding or health insurance reimbursements. It’s the donations of businesses, families and individuals that keep the nonprofit organization going, Rosinski said. As an example:

• $50.00 provides one group yoga class for up to 15 survivors.

• $100 provides three oncology massages.

• $250 provides six one-on-one counseling sessions for survivors and families.

• $500 provides more than 20 reflexology treatments.

• $1,000 provides a full year of a monthly support group.

When Julie was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in October 2022, she was in shock. Not only had she had a clear mammogram in May, but she didn’t meet the “normal” markers for who gets the extremely rare type of breast cancer: women under 40 of African American or Asian descent and those with the BRCA gene.

“That’s not me. It was a total shock,” she said. Her husband Paul – “the one who eats the French fries” – pointed out that Julie is always exercising, eating healthy foods and taking care of herself.

“My oncologist said cancer doesn’t care. Cancer does what cancer wants to do,” Julie said. ‘“Until you’re in it, you think, ‘This is something that happens to other people.’ It feels unreal. The process of acceptance feels like the grief process.”

After her diagnosis, friend Margo Hertzfeld handed Julie a brochure for The Victory Center. Hertzfeld, owner of Rosy Glow Wellness, provides reflexology services for The Victory Center.

Julie immediately called and booked an orientation with The Victory Center, which has locations in Toledo and inside the Mercy Health Perrysburg Hospital. Since then, Julie has participated in classes and received services including massage, one-on-one counseling and art therapy.

“You come once, and you’re hooked. Everyone is so welcoming. You feel comfortable and understood. You don’t feel as abnormal,” she said. “The best advice I got was to stay positive and not go to those dark places. It’s taking care of yourself. When you come here, you’re focused on feeling good and doing something good for your body, mentally and physically. I always leave feeling better. This is my healing.”

While Julie also has access to a wig bank, her daughter Lily – an Anthony Wayne High School senior – urged her not to wear one. Instead, Julie wore knit caps through the colder months and now has a short haircut that allows her to display the pink “boob earrings” that Lily bought her.

Lily will be rappelling down the Toledo building with Julie, but Paul, friends and family of the 3Gen team will watch safely from the bottom.

Team 3Gen includes Julie’s father’s longtime partner, Beth Wagoner, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last summer. Beth will be joined by her three children and grandchildren. 

Achieving the No. 1 spot on the Over the Edge fundraising board so far has been humbling.

“I’ve been blown away. All I had to do was ask,” Julie said of the generous donors who have contributed to her fundraising mission.

This year’s Over the Edge campaign includes a Thursday, September 7 VIP night with 11 rappelers. The Friday, September 8 event includes 10 climbers and 80 rappelers.

For more information about Over the Edge or The Victory Center programs, visit www.thevictorycenter.org.

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