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Overby helped others while fighting cancer

Cancer is a cruel disease.

It strikes those both young and old, often without warning. Treatment for the disease is harsh and often drawn out.

And you would be hard-pressed to find a person whose family hasn’t been affected by the disease.

Still, it amazes me how people fight the disease with such a level of strength, grace and determination. One of those warriors was Julie Bray Overby.

Overby died last Friday, July 9 at the young age of 44, having twice fought breast cancer since being first diagnosed in April 2005.

Many of you might remember Overby was featured in our paper just a few months ago, back in March, for her work toward starting a cancer support group in Chilton County.

She said at the time that she wanted to start the group to let cancer patients know about all the services the American Cancer Society offers – such as the “Look Good … Feel Better” program in which cosmetologists help female patients deal with the side effects of treatment, such as hair loss.

She decided to start the support group after discovering Chilton County didn’t have one.

“I thought there’s got to be a reason I’m getting this again, so maybe I’m supposed to do something with it,” Overby said of her second diagnosis and motivation to start the group.

Even while battling breast cancer herself, Overby was concerned about the self-esteem of other women with the disease. I think that says a lot of Overby and her desire to help others in the community.

I hope the support group will be able to continue to grow and reach out to more and more people. More information about the American Cancer Society and support services and programs the organization offers can be found online at cancer.org.