Julie Rohr, the woman who captured the hearts of Edmontonians, and more recently celebrities both near and far, has died.
Rohr passed away just days after a social media movement praising her courage and grace took the internet by storm.
“It is with great sadness that we, Julie’s family, must inform all of you that Julie has traded her earthly clothing for that of the eternal universe,” said an update on Rohr’s Twitter account Thursday afternoon.
“She has passed from this life to the next, and this is what she wanted us to tell you. Thank you, each one of you, for being a part of her journey.”
The Edmonton woman came to many people’s attention on Twitter, where she shared the difficult details of her battle with leiomyosarcoma, a rare type of cancer that grows in smooth muscles.
She did so with courage, grace and transparency – detailing the toll her multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and other treatments have taken since she was diagnosed in 2015.
“So many of you went from being Twitter friends to real-life friends, and she was so grateful for that, for you, for the experience. She cherished your support and friendship.”
A month ago, Rohr posted a video indicating the end was near: a trial drug she’d been on wasn’t working and after six years of ongoing treatments, her medical options had been exhausted. She said it with a smile, in the optimistic, yet realistic fashion she has become known for.
She became an inspiration to many people and this past week her friends worked to make sure she knew that. Over the course of several days, video shout-outs came in from both Canadian and international celebrities.
They included several from the Schitt’s Creek cast, notably Dan and Eugene Levy, along with actor Ryan Reynolds, Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, television personality Rick Mercer, broadcasting legend Peter Mansbridge, comedian Colin Mochrie and American author and activist Glennon Doyle and her wife – retired soccer player Abby Wambach.
Rohr and her husband also had a 20-minute Facetime session with Canadian singer Chantal Kreviazuk.
Her family said her final wishes were to leave her followers with these words:
“Friends, it’s been a wonderful life. I leave with some sadness, of course; I wish I could have stayed with you much longer. I had so many memories to make, so much I still wanted to do, say & experience.
But I leave this earthly world with no regrets- I have told the ones I love how much I love them, I have opened my heart to life and many of you have opened your hearts back to me in turn. My life experience has been rich and beauty-filled.
Thank you for your support in the past years. My family & I have been incredibly grateful for the outpouring of love and encouragement from so many of you. I often said it lifted me above the pain and suffering of the disease I lived with.
Cry for a time, however long that may be. Feel the grief you feel, as I allowed myself to do. Lean into the pain of goodbye. But eventually, lift your face towards the sun and allow joyful memories to be the lingering thought.
I hope I brought you joy. I hope I enriched your life experience. I hope my story inspired you to reach for strength & love even on the hardest, most painful days. Every day is a gift. May yours be full of beauty and wonder.”
Before becoming ill herself, Rohr and her son Max launched the “Fight a Monster Campaign” in 2013 to raise money for another local family dealing with cancer.
They collected $13,000 selling some of Max’s drawings, with half going to cancer research and half to the affected family.
The notice of her passing ended by saying details of her memorial service will be shared eventually. It will be open for people to attend in-person or via livestream.
“She made detailed plans for her life’s final party, which will not be a surprise to anyone who knew her,” the message concluded.
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