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Headshot of Juli, colon cancer survior

Meet Juli

Colon Cancer Survivor Mike Riley, Husband and Caregiver

"I draw my strength from the people around me, the people that love me and need me."

Juli’s biggest cheerleader while she fought colon cancer at age 55 was her loving husband, Mike, whom she endearingly calls Riley.

Through the diagnosis, chemotherapy, surgery, hospital stay and recovery, Mike was at her side, encouraging and supporting her.

“My husband would wake up every morning and say, “Okay, Juli, this is another day. You need to get up and go fight.”

She took his words to heart, and found courage in her doting husband, who she says, “only thinks positive.”

Unwavering, Mike set out a care box for his wife every morning. In the box, he placed four bottles of water, two bottles of Ensure, three gummy bear calcium tablets and two bananas.

“I don’t care if you don’t eat anything else the rest of the day, but this box has to be empty at the end of the day,” he reminded Juli.

Their determination - coupled with the support of family and friends and the treatment team at Moffitt Cancer Center who worked with her local oncologist in Fort Myers - added up to success.

“Today I am cancer-free, thanks to Dr. Dessureault and her staff and my oncologists. We couldn’t have done it without them,” says Juli.

Now Juli is a strong advocate for getting a routine colonoscopy at age 50. Because Juli had no symptoms, her cancer may have gone undetected without a colonoscopy. “It’s such a simple procedure and it could save your life. It saved mine.”

Looking back at her experience, Juli says she only has “happy tears.”

“After you’ve gone through surgery, chemo, fighting for your life, and you look back on it … I don’t have any bad memories at all, I really don’t, but it makes me very emotional to know that I came out on top.”