By Rachel Leland
Baylor alumna Julie Prater discovered unexpectedly she was pregnant with her second child in the summer of 2014. Eight weeks into her pregnancy, Prater had her first full-body seizure while tending to her screaming son.
Family and friends are hosting an auction to raise money for Julie Prater, who was diagnosed with a stage four brain tumor last summer.
At the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where she worked as a labor and delivery nurse, doctors alerted Prater that she had a brain tumor in her motor strip, the part of the brain where movement is controlled, and would need additional tests at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. At the medical center, Ms. Prater was diagnosed with a grade four brain tumor, which has a median survival time of 14 months.
Prater and her husband Luke Prater, who is also a Baylor alumnus, had to take time off of work and Julie is now on disability.
“Because they had to take so much time unpaid, I was over at her house one day and I said maybe we could do a fundraiser with her church,” said Prater’s sister-in-law Ashley Judd.
Judd spoke with Prater’s obstetrician-gynecologist nurse about creating an auction to raise money for Prater and her husband.
“Instead of doing a church auction it grew to an online auction,” Judd said “It’s been amazing how people have reached out to help them financially afford her care.”
Prater was a Chi Omega and a member of the Baylor Riding Association, where she met her husband Luke. The couple dated while at Baylor and married in 2007.
“It was such a poor diagnosis, it made things become pretty clear for us…we didn’t have a lot of choices when they said ‘she needs surgery now,’” Mr. Prater said.
Julie Prater did not want to terminate the pregnancy and chose to carry her daughter to term.
“We are of the Baptist faith and we felt there was no reason to terminate the pregnancy,” Luke Prater said.
Because Prater was concerned chemotherapy and radiation therapy, which are recommended to stop tumors from growing, could hurt her baby, she declined radiation therapy until 8 weeks before her delivery date. Two weeks after she gave birth to her daughter, June Lane, Julie Prater began the most aggressive type of chemotherapy possible.
Julie struggles daily with the cancer she found out she had less than a year ago. In addition to using a walker, Julie has one to two seizures every day. Friends and family help take care of her children and monitor her seizures.
Local Dallas businesses and friends have contributed items to the auction, which Judd hopes will bring more than $20,000 to pay for the family’s expenses.
The auction, which can be found at loveonjulie.com, will take place on Feb. 27 and Feb. 28 and contains a Disney package, a cabin stay in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, sunglasses, purses and salon packages.
Donations can be made until the Wednesday before the auction begins. Both Julie and her husband have sought counsel at their church, First Baptist Wylie, and with Luke’s father, who is also a chaplain.
“Our hope is for a miracle,” said Luke Prater.