Julia Kurtley always knew she was at risk for breast cancer. Still, it was a shock to her when she actually received the diagnosis last December at the age of 57.
“I always wondered if this would happen, considering my mother had breast cancer and my sister and my first cousin also had breast cancer,” said Curtley, a lifelong Brooklyn resident of Crown Heights .
“I’ve always had mammograms, and I just knew how serious it was for me to stay on top of my screening. But to be honest, I thought I would be able to avoid it. I just never imagined this would happen to me and it was quite devastating.
When faced with such dire news, many people need something to take their mind off their fears. Fortunately, Julia didn’t have to look for such a way out. She already had one — art.
Kurtley has taught art in the New York school system for 15 years, she said. So when she got her diagnosis, she knew exactly where to turn.
“I’ve seen it help a lot of students from first grade through 12th grade,” Kirtley said.
“I already knew the transformative power of art, but now I just had to channel it through myself.”
Going through her treatment, which lasted from January to March 2022, she said she often found herself carrying her art journal along with a few crayons or colored pencils to take her mind off everything while sitting in waiting rooms and listen your name be called.