I had the pleasure of interviewing Marc Julien.

Marc is CEO of Marc Julien Homes, a luxury, custom home builder in South Florida and is training for one of the toughest cycling races in the world, the 2021 Race Across America. After beating stage four cancer in 2018, Marc launched a non-profit to help fund childhood cancer treatment research, RAAM 21, and assembled a team to compete with him in the Race Across America, all while overcoming great odds and proving cancer is a calling to achieve more in life.

Thank you so much for doing this with us. Before we begin our readers would like to get to know you a bit more.  Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? 

Before starting my career in real estate development, I was working in Montreal on the production side shooting movies and television shows that came to town. Some of the more notable films I worked on are The Sum of All Fears and The Secret Window. However, the hours were unsustainable.  I also spent a lot of time worrying when I wasn’t working and didn’t have a contract in place.  My brother worked in the real estate development industry and suggested I take control of my destiny instead of allowing others to control mine. From there, we developed a game plan, I learned everything I could about the business and that set me on a path to begin a career in real estate development. I spent two years in Toronto, Canada before moving to Florida to start Marc Julien Homes shortly after that.

Can you tell us the story behind why you decided to start your nonprofit?

We currently are sponsoring a team that will compete in the 2021 “Race Across America” (RAAM). We started a non-profit organization for this initiative, RAAM 21, to raise funds for childhood cancer treatment research.

When I was diagnosed with stage four cancer, I prepared for the worst and was terrified wondering what would happen to my wife and newborn daughter if I didn’t survive.  To get through the hundreds of needles, radiation treatments and chemotherapy sessions, I made a promise to myself that once I was healthy, I was going to challenge myself to achieve something totally out of the box. 

I created a team of eight perfect strangers, each impacted by cancer in their own way, who are joining me to prove cancer is a calling to achieve more in life. Together, we’ll compete in RAAM this June, which is a 3,000-mile cross-country cycling race starting in Oceanside, California and ending in Annapolis, Maryland. It’s considered one of cycling’s toughest ultra-endurance events. We plan to complete the race in just over 5 days.

Can you describe how you or your organization aims to make a significant social impact?

Every three minutes, somewhere in the world a family receives the devastating news that their child has cancer. While many children survive, the treatment options are harsh and outdated. The long-term effects of current therapies can create severe, life-threatening complications.

This is the driving force behind why we started our non-profit organization, RAAM 21. We are raising money for the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, which is dedicated to funding research to eliminate childhood cancer and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s childhood cancer treatment research program. 

Without saying any names, can you share a story about an individual who was helped by your idea so far? 

Since we’ve just started our fundraising efforts, we have not completed our first mission, which is to raise $500,000 for childhood cancer treatment research. It is our goal and our hope that the money we raise will fund research that will help many children who are diagnosed with cancer to receive less harsh and outdated cancer treatments in the future.  

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve? 

Research requires money. Big pharma companies are among the wealthiest in the world and government needs to put pressure on the industry to fund cancer-related programs that help children. Government can help by offering incentives to pharma companies to develop medications and protocols that can help children. 

That’s why RAAM 21 is supporting organizations like the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, which is laser focused on reducing the side effects of current treatments, improving survival rates, and ultimately eliminating childhood cancer. We also will donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s mission to fight blood cancer in children. 

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example? 

Leadership is doing whatever it takes to make things happen. I would never ask anything of my team that I would not do myself. With construction, there are always last minute, unexpected issues that come up. If I have to pick up a shovel in order to keep construction going, I would be the first person making it happen. I do whatever it takes to get the job done. I believe my team sees that and in turn they take the same approach in their daily duties.

Based on your experience, what are the “5 things a person should know before they decide to start a non profit”. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Establish a diverse board of directors 
  2. Ensure you have a laser-focused initiative 
  3. Fulfill a need that is currently not being served
  4. Have a clear plan on how to raise money
  5. Rome was not built in a day so be patient!

We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world who you would like to talk to, to share the idea behind your nonprofit? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂  

RAAM 21 is my first initiative; however, the overall concept is to raise money through sports. I would love to meet Phil Knight. 

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson” Quote?  How is that relevant to you in your life? 

My cancer diagnosis and subsequent testament has taught so many great life lessons. One of the most important is finding the silver lining. No matter what the challenge or tragedy there is a silver lining buried somewhere within it. 

For example, my cancer treatments halted my life for four months. During that time, I was given an opportunity to realize that I was moving way too fast. I was all reaching the destination instead of enjoying the journey. I now enjoy the challenges that life delivers each day. Enjoy the ride.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow our RAAM 21 team as we train for the Race Across America in June 2021 on Instagram @RAAM21Ride and on Facebook, RAAM 21. Our website is www.raam21.com.  

We are Marc Julien Homes on Instagram; we’re also on Facebook and LinkedIn. Our website is www.marcjulienhomes.com.    

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success in your mission.