Our Charity’s Tribute to Julie Lillis

We are deeply saddened to hear the news that our dear friend, supporter, loyal fundraiser, and one of Northern Ireland’s most passionate cancer campaigners has passed away.

Julie first connected with our charity when, two months after receiving a cancer diagnosis in September 2020, she cycled 300km for breast cancer awareness. Raising an amazing £10,460, Julie donated £5,000 towards our research into the mutant BRCA gene at Queen’s University and to fund our Focus Friends group – a unique support group for younger women with breast cancer. In the following years, Julie has kindly shared her humour, kindness, and knowledge to help further support the work of our charity. In 2021, she was a charity advocate of our Support Your Girls breast cancer campaign where she shared her story to help raise awareness and even participated in an Instagram Live initiative to highlight signs and symptoms to local women.

However, Julie’s lasting legacy will be as a trailblazing campaigner. In 2022, she along with others, highlighted the urgent need for a clinical audit of secondary breast cancer patients in Northern Ireland, similar to that being commissioned in England & Wales. Her reason for this was simple, she wanted to improve cancer services and patients’ outcomes for local women now and in the future. As a charity, we were delighted to announce in February 2023 that we would fund Northern Ireland’s first secondary breast cancer research audit. The work that Julie has done to see the Secondary Breast Cancer audit become a reality will make a permanent difference to Northern Ireland’s health service and the lives of women living with the disease.

Julie will be missed by everyone at Cancer Focus NI and we are immensely thankful for her support over the years. At this heart-breaking time, our deepest sympathies and thoughts are with her ever-supportive family and friends who loved her dearly.