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Landrum woman nominated to walk in special Churchill Downs event

LANDRUM — She wants to walk that 1/1-8 mile oval.

For breast cancer survivor Julie Brock, walking across the finish line at Churchill Downs would be a true triumph. 

Tryon native Julie Brock encourages everyone to “get out the vote” and help nominate her to represent Tryon in the 144th Kentucky Oaks Survivor Parade on Derby weekend in May. (Photo submitted by Julie Brock)

Brock grew up in Tryon, and, though she always loved horses, never learned to ride. She attended the shows at Harmon Field, would get up early Saturday mornings to watch the horses gallop at Fairview Farms and always wanted to attend the Kentucky Derby.

Brock’s sister, Ann Brookshire, nominated Brock for the Kentucky Oaks Survivor Parade. If she receives enough votes, Brock will be chosen as one of the 144 breast and cervical cancer survivors to walk the oval prior to the 144th running of the historic Kentucky Oaks May 4.

Known as the Kentucky Derby for fillies, the Kentucky Oaks is run on the Friday before the Kentucky Derby. It is open to 3-year-old fillies, and is run over 1/1-8 miles.

Now through March 18, Kentucky Oaks fans are invited to vote for Brock or other Survivor Walk nominees. Fans can go on the website and vote everyday for the survivor of their choice.

Voters are given the option to donate, and all proceeds go to support breast and cervical cancer research and treatment.

Brock said she was first diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder then, in 2011, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“It’s something you think will not happen to you,” she said. “It was a long, hard recovery period.”

Brock said she owes much to all the good friends who helped her get through the treatment. She especially remembers a wonderful horse, named Song Parade, bred at Keeping Time Farm.

“The Murphys were so kind and generous to let me come to the farm and sit in the quiet,” said Brock, who made friends with the thoroughbred colt. “I kissed and loved on him, and he would come running to me. It was good for my soul. I think he was a big part of my survival.”

Though Brock now lives in Landrum, she said she will always consider herself a ‘Tryonite,’ and encourages all Tryonites to vote on the survivor walk.

“I want to draw awareness to breast and cervical cancer survivors,” she said. “I want people to know there is hope on the other side. You can survive and have a good life.”

For more information about the survivor walk or to vote for Brock, visit www.kentuckyderby.com/visit/derby-week/oaks/survivors-parade.