The Author and Artist Hour, September 21, 2021
Radio Toni A Conversation with Kez with Kez Wickham St George
Today’s guest is Julie Randall author of Patient 71
This Australian Bestseller tells the true story of Julie Randall, a healthy and happy wife and mother of two teenage daughters living on the picturesque beaches of Sydney. In June of 2012, Julie thought her life was just about perfect, but days after her 50th birthday celebration, her idyllic existence took a shocking and devastating turn. She was diagnosed with stage four metastatic advanced melanoma, handed a brochure on palliative care, and told to get her affairs in order because she only had months to live. Julie refused to crawl into bed and surrender to her presumed fate. She had watched her mother suffer a similar ordeal, but Julie was not about to leave a husband she loved and two daughters who needed her. Instead, she made a promise to them that she would ‘fix it’ and that she would not die. In searching for answers, Julie came across an experimental drug trial taking place in the United States that was showing some promise, but the trial was full at 70 patients and was limited to US citizens only. Through relentless appeals and sheer determination, Julie became PATIENT 71. Gambling against all odds, she left her family to join the trial in Portland, Oregon, not knowing if she would ever return to Sydney. Patient 71 is the story of a woman’s strength and courage, and her triumph over a fatal diagnosis with the undying support of her husband, her daughters, and numerous extended family members. Readers cannot help but to be drawn into the life of this beautiful family and laugh and cry along with them. Julie and her family teach us how to not only survive life’s challenges, but how to live with joy and laughter through them. Julie’s incredible story has become a source of hope and strength to many individuals faced with a life threatening illness, and for the past eight years, Julie has made it her life’s purpose to mentor other cancer patients. She is also an international motivational speaker and has spoken at conferences and cancer fundraising events around the world. Today, Julie continues to spend most of her time in Sydney, thankful for every day with her husband and daughters.
1. Why did you write the book ?
2. Who did you write the book for ?
3. What did you learn from your journey ?
4. How can you impart that knowledge to help others ?
5. You talk about the Power of the Promise ? what does that mean ?
6. You talk about the notion of moving beyond. Just being yourself in order to survive and thrive through life. Can you tell us more about that ?
NOTES – these talking points and questions are a guide and kez and I like to keep the conversation organic and natural.
6 Points to ponder:
- The story ( while feeling the fit and healthiest I was in a long time. Having a massive seizure at work and being told” you have stage 4 advanced melanoma. You only have months to live”. I could not find one other person that had survived that diagnosis
- A mothers desperate promise (the setting about find a way to keep it).The power of the promise.. (or this could come later)
- Managing the mind (fear) monsters ( I all most went into multiple personality syndrome trying to navigate so many aspects around trying to live)
- Why I wrote the book. (Another Promise) I had never written a thing before. If I didn’t have this experience I would never have known I could become a bestselling Author. It has opened my eyes as to how many of us women have these hidden talents in side of them just waiting to surface.
- The story around how I was told by a medical biologist that I had to experience ‘Joy” when I was in a diabolical situation. He said that my cells and body would respond in a positive way and help me stay as healthy as possible. So I had to be joyful in the face of extreme adversity.
- So the lead on from number 4 for me and what I’ve learned is a big one. I have learnt that surviving and thriving means going beyond “Just being yourself”
We hear that term a lot and I don’t think it’s healthy, unless of course you are 100% happy with your lot. It encourages people to stay stuck in their comfort zones and not explore what could be possible for them and how true happiness is growing, changing and evolving. We are often dealing with outdated versions of ourselves and think it’s the truth.
If I was “Just being my old self” I would not have written this book. I would not speak on stage, I would not be doing this interview. I don’t allow fear to get in the way anymore. The fear monsters still come but I have learnt to dance with them.
Kez is ever the storyteller and a popular speaker at many local events; However mentoring others to tell their stories has become a large part of Kez’s life, running creative writing workshops for those that have a story to tell.
Encouraging and mentoring others to follow their passion for writing has resulted in four of her writing protégés becoming published authors. Kez also invites published authors in fiction to contact her, as she enjoys introducing their work to Facebook and Instagram by video.