Julie Weil’s Journey: From Survivor to Advocate for Sexual Assault Victims

In this compelling interview at ISHI 34, Julie Weil shares her harrowing yet inspiring journey from being a sexual assault survivor to becoming a powerful advocate for change. Julie recounts her own experience with sexual assault and how DNA evidence played a crucial role in bringing her attacker to justice. She discusses her efforts in founding the Not Just Me Foundation, aimed at supporting victims, influencing legislative changes, and raising awareness about sexual assault. Julie’s story is a testament to the transformative power of personal tragedy into a force for societal good, emphasizing the importance of forensic science in the legal process and victim support. Her work extends beyond the U.S., contributing globally, including establishing the first rape crisis center in Egypt. This interview is a moving narrative of resilience, justice, and the relentless pursuit of change for survivors of sexual assault.




Laura: Welcome Julie, we are so excited to have you back at ISHI. We’re at ISHI 34. This is our annual video series. You’re very familiar with it since you interviewed with us before, but for our viewers who might not know you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background before we get started?


Julie: My name is Julie Weil. I live in Jupiter, Florida, originally from Miami, Florida, which is where my case took place. Right now, I run a nonprofit called the Not Just Me Foundation to help spread awareness, help legislative change, support victims of sexual assault. And in addition to running this nonprofit, I also speak out across the country trying to inspire people who work in DNA. People who work as sexual assault nurse examiners, prosecutors, law enforcement to let them know how important that their role is in the healing of the survivors that they serve, and how important closure is, whatever that looks like to somebody. How important closure is for people, you know, to continue on with their lives. And it’s definitely the most gratifying part of my work, because it’s an opportunity for me to say thank you to all the different disciplines that helped me get justice.


Laura: Well, we met last time, I was so inspired. We actually had to stop the interview because of me. Not because of you. Because your story really, really affected me. And the work that you do with your foundation is remarkable. Before we get into your wonderful presentation, Closure to Change, which was incredible, are you okay telling us telling the viewers who don’t know much about you, your story, and maybe a little bit about what happened at the presentation last time you were here with us.


Julie: Yeah. So, my story starts out back in October of 2002. I dropped my daughter off at preschool, at the church around the corner from my house. And my son and I went to do errands. When we went to pick her up, we were carjacked in the parking lot of our church preschool by a stranger who then took me to my home, and then out into the Florida Everglades just south of Miami between Miami and the Florida Keys, and kept me out there and raped me four times while he had us in front of both my children. He took me to banks to take out money, and eventually, at the end of it all, left me back bleeding on the floor of my van in front of my two kids with a butcher knife in the back of my neck. And he went on his way and just kind of disappeared into the night during the crime. He had a lot of ways that he would get rid of the evidence. He burned off his fingerprints. He shaved all his body hair. He forced me to swallow the DNA each time. And he would taunt me and say, “they’re never going to catch me. I’ve been doing this for years, and they’ve never caught me. They’re not going to catch me this time, either.” And it was such a terrible feeling knowing that if I did survive what happened, which definitely wasn’t a certainty, that I may never know who did this to me. And that was the case for a very, very, very long time.


My rape kit came back negative for any kind of fluids. Police found no hair, no fingerprints in my van, although he had been with me, you know, for the entirety of a day and raped me four times. There was no trace of him anywhere. But I got incredibly lucky. Which sounds funny to say after an ordeal like that. But my assault happened in Miami Dade County, and Miami Dade County has excellent technology. They have excellent DNA and great facilities for sexual assault victims.


And I was very fortunate to have my sexual assault kit and my clothing land on the desk of an analyst at their crime lab, and this analyst went above and beyond. She checked the kit. There was nothing in the kit. She checked my foundation garments, nothing on that. But she went ahead and also tested the shirt I was wearing, which was unusual because I wasn’t wearing my shirt during the entirety of the assault except for when I put my shirt on to go through the drive through teller at the bank when he forced me to withdraw money. And what had happened was a very small speck, infinitesimal speck of mixed DNA transferred from my lips onto my shirt. And it was a mixed sample back in 2002.


You know, samples that small, mixed samples, it wasn’t common to get complete profiles out of that. And they were able to when they ran it through CODIS, it hit on another case, but there was no identity. So, I didn’t know who he was, but they knew he was a serial rapist.


Dade County formed a task force. All we had was a sketch that my three and a half year old daughter, and I did, you know, and everybody was looking for him. And my fortune changed when he was arrested for domestic violence assault down near the Florida Keys. He was staying in a hotel. He beat up his pregnant girlfriend. An innocent bystander called in the abuse. He was cuffed and taken into the police station, and Miami Dade was swabbing anybody who looked like the Palmetto Bay rapist, which is what my assailant was called. And this was three, four months after what had happened and this small precinct in the southern tip of Florida, you know, said, maybe he looks like him. They swabbed him and he was there for a couple hours, but the girlfriend eventually dropped the charges.


Fortunately for me, there was no backlog in Miami-Dade. The test with the kit was tested in a relatively quick amount of time. They got a hit and they knew his identity. And when they figured out who he was, just a very small group of people knew it. Just the task force, the head of the lab, the analyst, the 3 or 4 detectives who are working on the case. They hadn’t even called me yet. And that night my analyst was driving home from work. I’m sure very excited that in her case, they had finally figured out the identity. She stopped at Burger King to just pick up some drive thru, and she looks through the window and he is standing in the drive thru ordering dinner for his family with his pregnant girlfriend and his two year old son.


Of all the places in the city of 3 million people. My analyst happens to be the person who spots him at a Burger King by chance, so she called 911. Police came, but he escaped the dragnet. He hitchhiked. He rode on buses. He stole a car in South Carolina, put together a disguise kit. And he lived on the run for a long time. America’s Most Wanted was involved in his capture, which eventually came at the end of March. In 2003, a few policemen in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, saw a car on the side of the road and they just knocked on the window late at night and said to the person inside, you can’t sleep here. You have to move along.


And, when the driver produced his ID, they recognized him off America’s Most wanted and they apprehended him. And so, it was literally a miracle. And then it took another four years. He switched attorneys six times. We had to call in a bunch of different experts. My daughter was interviewed repeatedly from age three, all the way up until she was in first or second grade. And we were never allowed to forget what happened, but we were so committed. My family was to committed seeing this through.


And then the day came. The trial started on Halloween of 2006. My mom was the first witness, because she was my outcry. As a mother of myself, I can’t even imagine what my mom went through that day, it was her house I called 911 from and after a very long two week public trial, my rapist was sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences plus 15 years. And what’s incredible is during this journey they uncovered, there were four of us in South Dade, all abducted from Presbyterian Church preschools, all with our children. Um, he was escalating in violence with each one. But he had picked one a year and they offered us a plea deal. The collective group at 30 year plea deal. And I was the only one who didn’t take it.


So those seven life sentences were all for my case. Three counts or three life sentences for armed kidnapping with a deadly weapon. One for my son, one for my daughter, one for me. And then four life sentences for rape with a deadly weapon, which is an unprecedented sentence still in the state of Florida. And I owe my analyst a lot. It was her testimony on the stand. When he showed up looking bright and shiny, father of five in a suit. His father worked for the ATF. His mom was a church secretary, and they presented a pretty nice picture of somebody who wasn’t capable of committing a sexual assault. And it was my analyst who really drove home the point statistically, that it couldn’t be anyone else but him, and it caused the defense to change their entire strategy. And, um, and luckily, in the end, we got the conviction we were looking for. But it was it was amazing. And I feel like I owe so much to forensic science because on the surface, I don’t I don’t know if he would have been convicted. I don’t I don’t know if in today’s culture… They would have let him go. He presented a very nice front and without that science backing it up.


Laura: Julie, even hearing this a second time. And not that we haven’t even, you know, watched all of the coverage between the last time we met now. It still overwhelms me to a point I can’t even. And then the strength you had not only to start the not just me foundation and work to help other people, but to stand up and say, no, I’m not taking that plea deal. You know, you need to stand trial for what you did.


Julie: That was such a difficult decision. But I remember my state attorney who I adore, my whole team was so incredible. She said to me, you can do this. Even if it means… You know, it took four years, constant continuances, dragging this out, you know, questioning myself, was I doing the right thing for my family by dragging this out? But he will never, ever get out of jail. And the way he was escalating, I’m lucky that I made it out alive. I didn’t know if I’d ever get off the floor of my minivan. You know once he stabbed me and I just feel like there’s a message in all this somewhere. And I think the message is that when all the people that a sexual assault victim touches in their journey do their job in a way that is victim centered, that acknowledges the fact that this is a human situation, it’s scientific, it’s medical, it’s legal, but it’s also very human. If you can project that to the survivor, it’s such a lifeline to keep them going during the process that even if it takes four years. You know, you can hold somebody up and give them the confidence to see it through to conviction.


Laura: Absolutely. I mean, the hope that must give other survivors and the strength and having you back again to talk this time, tell your story, but also talk about from closure to change. Yeah, because you’ve dedicated your life to turning this into something that changes other people’s lives. So, I would love to hear more about your talk.


Julie: Well, it was really interesting. After I got the conviction and he was sentenced to the seven life sentences back in 2006, I rehabbed in my house for a little bit, spent time with my kids, tried to get over the shock of everything we had went through here. We had been through, and I would turn on the news at night and I saw my guy’s locked up. But all over the country, rapists are hurting people. People are being murdered; things are happening. And just because my guy’s locked up doesn’t mean it’s not happening. I might feel a little bit more secure that he’s behind bars, but I don’t feel safe because I know how many people there are out there still offending. And so, I took what I learned from my trial, the information they uncovered, the interviews they did with my assailant. I put together a list of safety tips, and I started knocking on the doors of community centers, women’s centers, preschools, synagogues, churches just to say,

‘hey, listen, I want to tell you my story because I want you to be on guard and I want you to be safe. And here’s some practical safety tips.”


Well, that kind of spiraled. I was going all these places just because I felt in my heart I needed to do something with this experience that meant something. And I got a call from Arlen Specter, senior senator in Pennsylvania, and his office said a woman down in Florida had called them because he was the head of the Committee on Crimes and Drugs and said, you need to talk to this woman. After you hear her story and you have to see how she got closure and was able to move on, because I know there are a lot of people in this country that don’t have what she had, and maybe we could learn something.


And so I did the Senate testimony in Congress, and that was life changing, because I couldn’t believe I went from literally just driving around in my minivan, knocking on doors, saying, “hey, can I give you a safety presentation as a volunteer” to making it all the way to Capitol Hill? And after that, I got involved with passing the Safer Act Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting Act, which passed unanimously in the House and Senate, which when you think about today’s political atmosphere, it’s hard to believe anything ever passed unanimously and then became part of VAWa in 2013 and has been part of the Reauthorizations. I decided, because I had big dreams of helping people and helping with the situation with rape kit backlog that I should form a nonprofit foundation. So, I formed what’s now called the Not Just Me Foundation. And it was eight years ago yesterday that my foundation celebrated its incorporation as a 501c3. So yeah, it’s yeah, it’s amazing that yesterday I was able to give this talk because on the eight-year anniversary of putting together what would become my purpose in life. You know, I had the ability to address so many hundreds of people and tell them what they do is life changing.


And, so once I incorporated, I got to work on my own state after the Safer act, I pushed for an inventory of the backlog in 2016. The state of Florida passed a Test All Kits bill, and that was really exciting to me. My rapist had also been not only a domestic offender who had two rape kits in the system from two previous marriages in which wives were taken in for domestic violence scene at the hospital giving rape kits after being sexually abused. He was also an acquaintance rapist in the state of Virginia, and he had left a trail. But nobody was testing the kids because there were known offenders in what they considered, he said/she said situations.


So, to me, when I made the connection that, wow, as a country, we’re not realizing that predators are predators and offenders are offenders. And whether you offend against somebody you know or you offend against a stranger, it’s the same personality. So you have to test all the kits because there’s so much movement between the two types of rape that you can’t one side can’t ignore the other. So, we got the Test All Kits bill passed.


I did some work with ADVA, the Domestic Violence Association. It just promoting the fact that, look, we’ve got to look harder at domestic violence when we’re looking for perpetrators of sexual assault. And then I worked for a few years passing rape kit tracking in Florida, which eventually became law May 2023.


So that’s just recently. It’s called Gayle’s Law. And Gayle Gardner, who the law is named after, is a person whose kit was caught up in the backlog for over a decade in Florida. Who through the Test All Kits bill, you know, she finally saw justice. She finally saw her perpetrator identified, named. And now the tracking law is named after her.


But that was a long fight. I’d been fighting for tracking ever since 2010, when I started pushing for the Safer act. But in addition to the stuff I’m doing in Florida. Well, part of what I’m doing in Florida is I set up a rape crisis center in my county, and that doesn’t sound like the biggest deal, but it kind of was because Palm Beach County is one of the largest counties east of the Mississippi River in the United States, and we had no rape crisis center.


So those benefits I had in Miami of being able to go to an established crisis center, being seen by a sane nurse, you know, have all this good coordination between the sexual assault response team was missing in my own county. And it’s not that they didn’t have victim services, but they didn’t have a centralized forensic exam center. And I know how important that was for me in getting good DNA, having a nurse that was able to really have the kind of bedside manner to get me to participate in all the photographs and the swabs and all of that.


So, I worked hard to get a rape crisis center opened. A great team legislative delegation in Palm Beach County was able to do it. And we opened what’s called the Butterfly House. And it’s centrally located. Palm Beach County has gone from back in 2011, seeing roughly 250 reported sexual assaults a year, to before the pandemic, seeing a high of almost 800. So, you’re talking about threefold increase in the number of people who are reporting sexual violence, not because more violence exists, but because a place is there now for people to go to. There’s media coverage. You will be believed.


This isn’t a place where you go and people say your skirt was too short, you were drinking. You know, it’s a place where you can go get a professional exam. And through my foundation we provide comfort food, we provide toiletries. I remember that feeling of being at the police station in the middle of the night, having not eaten in 36 hours and just wanting food, wanting fresh clothes to put on because the police had taken mine. And, you know, I was wearing a gown and things like that. So, through my organization, I’m able to get people a shower right after their exam, get them some food, put fresh clothing on them, and so that when you see the police who come to the butterfly house, you have a little more dignity than you had when you came in.


Laura: Absolutely.


Julie: And in being able to empower somebody like that, it makes you better able to receive help and to cooperate because you feel supported.


Laura: I mean, after something so traumatic has happened, you need a safe space and it has to feel… You absolutely won’t report it if you feel like you’re going to be treated poorly or if there’s anything that can stop it. Right. So, I think opening this crisis center is a huge deal.


Julie: And it’s so important for me, especially my county and in, in Florida, for people to know this exists. Because if you know that picking up the phone isn’t so scary, if you know it’s anonymous, there’s a place you’ll go, you’ll get help, you’ll get an advocate, and it’s up to you whether you choose to prosecute or not. That’s on you. Nobody’s forcing you, but you can get the medical help that you need and the emotional support you need right there at Ground Zero in that moment.


Laura: It’s remarkable. I mean, everything that you’ve done, from the incredibly long journey, I mean, really mixed samples. Yeah, that was the beginning of mixed samples. So, you’re starting there. The tiniest piece of evidence. All of the years that you fought, starting the foundation, the many governmental changes you’ve made through the foundation and helping survivors. And now the crisis. It’s amazing.


Julie: Well, thank you. It’s been really exciting because I’ve also had the opportunity. I was invited to go to Egypt with the IACP International Association of Chiefs of Police. Well, after the Senate testimony, Egypt was having problems in the sense that sexual assault is not commonly reported in Egypt for a lot of cultural reasons. And through the United Nations and the US State Department and Egypt, you know, started working in cooperation and, you know, made a pledge to do better and to want to do better and to get help to the people of Egypt. And somebody said, there’s a crazy lady down in South Florida who will talk to anybody about her experience. And so, they flew groups of Egyptians over to Miami. They visited the rape crisis center. They visited the lab. They saw the police department, the judicial process. They replicated this in Colorado Springs also. And in November of 2016, right after ISHI, I had the opportunity to fly to Cairo and help open the first rape crisis center in the country of Egypt.


Laura: That had to be amazing.


Julie: That was unbelievable. The best part of the whole thing was that we were allowed to put out these flyers, printed by the Women’s Center, printed by the Egyptian government with all the information about the rape crisis center and the help. And we could put it up in marketplaces and we could, you know, pass them out to people and say, your government supports you. This is real. And this is change that’s coming, change that’s been thousands of years in the making, you know, and to be able to share that kind of hope with people was really amazing to me. And it just it got me to think, you know, my rapist said he had picked me because I was I looked small, vulnerable and disorganized. I think he meant distracted but disorganized. And there’s just a sense of power when I think, gosh, you know, I went to Egypt, then the next year to Guadalajara, Mexico to do the same kind of project with the IACP. To think that, you know, not just change right there in my community, not just change in Florida or through the Safer act, but, you know, if you can take this globally.


I just I think, wow, you really picked the wrong person that day. You know, I’m not small, vulnerable and disorganized, but by having these opportunities, it’s really helped me move on with my life because it doesn’t matter what kind of sexual assault you go through, whether it’s at the hands of somebody you know. And it happens once it happens, you know, hundreds of times over the course of your life due to an intimate partner or family member or it happens, you know, at the hands of somebody off the streets.


It is such an intimate violation of who a person is. And the crime itself has such a different nature to it that closure is hard and moving on is hard. And I feel like I was so fortunate to have the professionalism that I had throughout the way, and it breaks my heart when I think in this country, in my state and definitely around the world, everybody’s not getting this treatment because it’s hard enough to wake up every day when you have it. So, we have to do better and we’ve got to we got to help everyone.


Laura: And now you’re bringing that to people now. Making it a global initiative is amazing. And you’ve just built this. I mean, you donate your time.


Julie: This is my purpose. And, you know, I said yesterday in my talk, I graduated from the University of Virginia and that I have a lot of pride in that. I worked really hard and I was a complete dork in high school, captain of the debate team to get there and then got a master’s degree from the University of Miami. And I have those diplomas hanging on my wall in my office. But when I go to the Department of Corrections website, which sounds macabre, but I do it sometimes just to make sure he’s still there. There’s a picture of him, and underneath there are several lines, and it says sentence to life, sentence to life, sentence to life. The date of the offense, the date of the conviction and what it was for. And when I read those seven life sentences in the 15 years and I see his picture on the screen, I think more so than any diploma I have or professional certification or anything I’ve ever accomplished. This is it. This is my life’s purpose. I know a lot about government and foreign affairs and international economics from school, but I’m an expert on this because I’ve been there, and I think there’s a certain kind of responsibility you feel. Once you’ve been through it, you come through the other side and you start to reflect on what it takes to move on. There’s kind of a responsibility there to bring everybody else with you, to get help to everybody else so that we could all share this journey. Because it’s so hard and and healing doesn’t happen in isolation. Healing happens in community. So, if you can get out there not as a business, not as a superstar or a movie star or anything like that. You’re just a person and you’re out there and you said, let me share my experience with you and this is possible. And it works. People say, huh? You know, it’s not a lot of red tape, and it’s not a lot of pie in the sky thinking it’s real, tangible stuff that a real person went through. Maybe we can replicate this and so far, so good.


Laura: I think it’s amazing because you’re bringing inspiration, but it’s also a way that you took the power back. You took your power back and turned it to something so remarkable. Your story, anyone who hears it, it’s just we’re left speechless in a lot of ways.


Julie: You. I couldn’t do it, though, without companies who support me and people who support me. And I’ve been very fortunate. George Washington University has had me present to the graduate students now for seven years in a row. Duquesne University invited me to speak to their criminology students. I’ve been to University of North Texas, Albuquerque Police Department, Las Vegas Police Department, all sorts of places that I’ve been able to travel. And that wouldn’t be possible if these organizations didn’t believe in the power of the survivor message. If Promega didn’t believe that having a human element in the business was important, I wouldn’t have this platform to stand on and try to reach people. If people you know, don’t co-opt the survivor into what they’re doing. You know, they’re kind of robbing themselves of the opportunity to change lives in a bigger way. And so, you know, my gratitude to everyone who takes a chance on me and allows me to come and speak.


Laura: Well, we appreciate you saying that, but the truth is, I mean, we are honored to have you here speaking to this audience and your fantastic talk. If there is one takeaway from it that you would share with this particular audience of forensic scientists, analysts, law enforcement, everything focused on forensic DNA, what would it be.


Julie: That you save lives? When I was at ISHI in 2016 and my analyst was in the audience and you know, the question, like, what would you say to her if you met her? You know, have you ever had the chance to thank her? And I was tripping over myself, thinking about all the things I wanted to say, and then I had that opportunity. It really was like meeting the person who saved my life, the person who gave me my life back and gave me the chance to have resolution and not to have the same life I used to have, but to have a life that’s equally good, just different.


And so, to law enforcement, to sexual assault nurses, to analysts, to everybody who touches a victim, you are the hero because you are the people who give us the strength to put our lives together just like a doctor saving somebody in the emergency room. You know, my analyst saved my life. Through science, through her testimony, through everything she brought to the table. And I don’t want anybody for one minute to get caught up in the tedium of your work and to think, you know, it’s just samples, it’s just math, it’s just statistics, or it’s just, you know, red tape. It’s not. It’s people who will remember you forever and like me, will be forever grateful for the closure that you were able to give us.


Laura: And that human element, I think, is why everybody is doing what they’re doing and to hear the story. And, you know, they don’t always see the end result or know the result to hear that it really lights a fire again and helps hope so. I really think so. And for those who didn’t watch or didn’t know about your last presentation, the analyst who was able to find that very mixed tiny sample was in the audience. Yes. And nobody knew that there was not a dry eye in the house.


Julie: And it was life changing for me to be able to hug her in person and to say thank you in person and just hopefully to impress upon her and everybody else. This is real. I mean, maybe you didn’t go into this to be a life saver or a rock star, but you are. And remember that every day when you get up and go to work, what you do is so important.


Laura: Well, I would say the exact same thing back to you. We are so honored to have you. Is there anything else you want our audience to know or how can they get involved and help?


Julie: Look in your community, see what kind of rape crisis programming is available. Sometimes it’s helpful to look at that before something happens to you or someone that you love. Keep track of all the big national organizations who are pushing for survivor rights, who are pushing for stronger DNA laws, for better DNA technology. I’m definitely out there trying to get more money sent, you know, into the companies that are producing the technology. Go to my website and read the safety tips and just kind of keep your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the country, because there are a lot of survivors speaking out, pushing change, and hopefully elevating all of these organizations and legislative issues to get everyone more help so we can be more effective.


Laura: Legislative on the call and then to help report us. So underreported, so support so that people can do that.


Julie: And anybody can reach out to me. My website is on the ISHI page and I’m happy to meet anybody for coffee or to speak to any group. Anytime you’re feeling like you need a little pick me up or a little more encouragement to keep fighting the good fight, I definitely want to be there to help and to encourage you.


Laura: That is such a beautiful, kind offer and we are so thankful to have you here again. It’s wonderful to reconnect. It’s thanks so much for this. Amazing. And this is on a more personal note, but your son was visiting with us this time, and I hear he’s going into criminology.


Julie: I’m so excited. He, he had a little bit of a career shift. His whole life, he’s watched this. You know, he was eight months old when it happened. Although he doesn’t know all the particular details. He grew up in the shadow of, you know, the trial that took four years to get to. So, he was in kindergarten before, you know, by the time we went to trial and to see how our family rebuilt, how it affected everyone in our house on a personal level, we got great help through, you know, forensic psychology and, you know, police and advocates and things like that. And although he was initially drawn to engineering, he has decided to switch course. And he’s in criminology. He’s becoming part of a big program. He’s planning on getting his master’s degree. And because he’s out here in Colorado, he was able to come to my talk yesterday and he sat right in the front row. And I start off my talk with pictures of my son and my daughter that were actually taken at the preschool. We were abducted from the day before our abduction. So, it is literally the very last pictures I have of my kids before our life changed in an instant. And when I put that picture up this time at this conference, and I looked out into the audience and there was his face, 21 years old in the front row, supporting me and listening to this story, I thought, this is about as full circle as it comes, because, you know, the life I had envisioned for myself, the life I had envisioned for my kids as all parents do, didn’t necessarily involve this.


But to see now the inspiration that my son’s gotten from the community and from watching law enforcement and the judicial system and DNA, and has made a decision that this is what he wants to do for the rest of his life. It’s not just my purpose. Now it’s my son’s purpose to go out and do this and to have him be able to meet people from all the different agencies. And everybody was so receptive to helping. I thought, this is part of the plan. This is the full circle now. And, so yeah, yesterday was probably… I’ve done a lot of presentations. Yesterday was probably the most memorable and significant that I’ve ever given in my life. Just because, you know, there was a time, you know, when I thought my son was going to die. I was there that day and I thought I was going to die and to see him and how he’s grown up and just the fact that it’s not just me who this community is affected, it’s everybody watching too. So yeah, thank you. I’m excited for his career path. And hopefully one day he’ll be coming to ISHI conferences on his own as a professional.


Laura: Absolutely. We’ll have you both here for as long…


Julie: Uh, we’ll be here.


Laura: It would be amazing. We’ll be here. Oh, I’m. Thank you. Thank you for being willing to sit down with us again and tell your story. I can’t tell you. It’s just wonderful to see you again. Really appreciated you coming to talk about change. And you’re doing it. Thank you, thank you.


Julie: Now you have to give me a hug.


Laura: A hug definitely. Oh, it’s so good to see you.