How the Peacock Got Her Feathers and Inspires Julie


It takes a lot of energy and determination to run a 5K. The Alton Miles for Meso course is known among runners for its steep hills and brick streets. It’s not an easy course to run.

Julie ran it in 2012 and finished in 47 minutes. She approached the race the same way she approached her cancer treatments.

“You’ve got to break it down to whatever is directly in front of you and just do that,” she said. “You can’t think about everything you have to do, or it becomes far too overwhelming.”

When her treatment seemed overwhelming, Julie remembered the story of how the peacock got its feathers.

In India, there was a small village. A strange bush had grown in its town center, and on this bush grew the most beautiful red, perfectly round fruit. The town’s cattle, and the children who tended them in the square, came and ate the fruit.

Sadly, the berries were poisonous and the cattle and children died. When the people in the village realized what had happened, they ran to the bush and cut it down.

The next day, the bush had grown back, and the cattle and children once again ate the poisonous fruit and died.

The village people did not know what to do. They went to the village medicine man and asked, “Oh wise medicine man, tell us how we should get rid of the bush.”

The medicine man replied, “You must dump boiling oil over it. That will kill the bush and its poison.”

The people did as he instructed, but the next day, the bush had returned. The villagers then went to the local priest. He told them to dig the bush up by its roots. They did as they were told, but the bush returned.

The villagers despaired.

While they debated about what to do next, a large, dull gray bird emerged from a nearby wood and walked to the bush and began eating the fruit.

The bird, instead of dying as the villagers expected, turned a bright blue and a brilliant fan of blue, green and red feathers sprouted from its tail.

A peacock can eat poison without dying, and that is how it got its feathers.

The story of the peacock has helped Julie not only face the poisonous asbestos that caused her cancer but also the chemotherapy treatments required to treat it.

“I knew I could be that peacock,” she said. “I could ingest poison and turn it into something beautiful.”

Five years after her diagnosis, Julie got the tattoo of a peacock’s feather to remind her that she has the magical ability to transform bad into beautiful.


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You can #JoinJulie at the Alton Miles for Meso 5K race on Sept. 24 by clicking here to register.

If you’ve already registered, thank you.

To celebrate her ten year milestone, Julie got another tattoo on her right arm. An upcoming blog will share that story, so stay tuned.


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Simmons Hanly ConroyWritten by:

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