Julie Rohr is dying.
The Edmonton woman has never shied away from sharing the brutal, heartbreaking details of her battle with leiomyosarcoma, a rare type of cancer that grows in smooth muscles.
But she had done so with courage, grace and transparency — detailing on social media the toll her multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and other treatments have taken since she was diagnosed in 2015.
A month ago, Rohr posted a video saying she would be taking a step back from Twitter after receiving bad news from her doctors: 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.
On Sept. 1, after being hospitalized, she shared how her new normals were “rapidly changing into different new normals,” that included round-the-clock oxygen support and a bevy of medical aids in her home.
A week later, in a heartfelt post showing her surrounded by women caring for her swollen legs, Rohr announced she was entering hospice, ending it with: “Each day is true grace. I am surrounded by absolute love. I lack for nothing.”
She’s an inspiration to many people and this week her friends wanted to make sure she knew that, working to share her story far and wide.
Edmontonians have fallen in love with Julie, and so too, it appears, have several celebrities.
“Julie, Dan Levy here,” began a video posted Monday by the Canadian actor of the blockbuster comedy Schitt’s Creek.
“We are so glad that you loved our show, we’re so glad that it has brought you joy, and we are all — each and every one of us — sending you so much love right now,” he said, blowing a kiss.
Friend Hannah Hamilton spearheaded the shout-out efforts and shared a video on Twitter of the moment a speechless Rohr saw Levy’s post.
“That’s so beautiful, thank you for making that happen,” Rohr said through tears after regaining her voice.
It was only the beginning.
Within hours, actor Ryan Reynolds had joined the fray.
“I heard a little about your story, and one of the things that struck me about your story is that you are beloved by so many people,” the Deadpool actor said from Boston.
“Stay strong. Hope I get to meet you in person one of these days.”
The videos continued to pour in on Monday.
Canadian comedian and television personality Rick Mercer chimed in about Rohr’s friends and followers.
“They must love you a lot — I mean, they love you so much they turned the entire Twitterverse upside down like that,” he said with a snap. “Who does that? I don’t know.”
Actress Karen Robinson, another Schitt’s Creek cast member, sent her love to Rohr.
“You have some wonderful friends and I’m thinking that that can’t happen without you being a wonderful person,” she said.
“When God made you, she did ok — she did better than ok!”
Social media comedian and musician Stewart Reynolds, better known by his online handle Brittlestar, also joined the fray.
“These videos are spreading a lot of joy on the internet and that’s a wonderful thing to be able to do. So thank you for the opportunity to help spread some happiness and stay awesome,” he said.
The phenomenon wasn’t limited to Canadian celebrities.
American author and activist Glennon Doyle, and her wife — retired soccer player Abby Wambach — posted a video on Monday night from their home in Florida.
“We’re sitting in our house, feeling like every single bit of our hearts are just with you in this minute, tonight. We are just loving you, we are sending every bit of power and peace and love — love, love, love to you,” Doyle said.
“You’re a goddamn cheetah. We love you.”
Rohr said she was blown away by all the love in the videos, posting to Twitter, “I can’t even say what they mean to me.”
The evening culminated with a 20-minute Facetime session between Rohr, her husband and Canadian singer Chantal Kreviazuk.
The love continued Tuesday, when Canadian broadcasting legend Peter Mansbridge told Julie she is “powerful, brave and resilient.”
“We are with you with our prayers and our thoughts, so stay strong.”
Edmonton Oiler Connor McDavid thanked her for everything she does for Edmonton.
“It’s truly inspiring,” the hockey superstar said.
Comedian Colin Mochrie — self-proclaimed “Canada’s dream boyfriend” — shared some encouraging words with Julie.
“I hope you know how much you are loved and admired and respected… You’ve inspired people to send that love and joy out across the world,” he said.
“You are a rare and special person.”
More and more celebrities, politicians and athletes joined in Tuesday and Wednesday:
It’s perhaps an apt tribute to a woman who first came to many people’s attention before she even became sick.
In 2013, Rohr and her son Max launched the “Fight a Monster Campaign” to raise money for another local family dealing with cancer.
They raised $13,000 selling some of Max’s drawings, with half going to cancer research and half to the affected family.
Edmonton health matters: Fighting monster cancer & high school bikeathon
Now, it’s Rohr and her family who need some extra support — and at least this week, the internet delivered.
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