HarperCollins Speakers Bureau

Julia Fox Garrison

Patient Advocate And Stroke Survivor


  • Patient Advocacy and Patient Perspective (CEU/CME/CM credits can be offered)
  • Resiliency through Recovery
  • Overcoming Adversity with Attitude, Choice, and Purpose
  • The Healing Power of Hope, Humor, and Humanity
  • My Journey On The Gurney: Perspective From Inside The bed Rails & Outside The Box
  • emPOWer U: Strategies To a Better YOU



Julia Fox Garrison is the author of Don’t Leave Me This Way (or when I get back on my feet you’ll be sorry)—a personal memoir of her struggle to regain control over her life and her body following a devastating hemorrhagic stroke. Since the national publication, Garrison has appeared on Good Morning America, Fox25 News, NECN, BBC, Martha Stewart Living Radio with Dr. Brent Ridge, Oprah & Friends radio with Dr. Mehmet Oz, and featured in People magazine. Don’t Leave Me This Way was selected by Barnes & Noble for their Discover Great New Writers Program in the fall of ’06. Her book was also selected for The Reader’s Digest Condensed Volume for Today’s Best Non-fiction. The Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor (AATH) also awarded her book for Furthering the Mission - Non-member: for the best nonfiction book to advance the understanding and application of humor and laughter for their positive benefits.

By her own admission, Garrison never aspired to be a writer. Rather than write a book, she would have much preferred to have one dedicated to her. But in the aftermath of her stroke, dealing with the medical community and insurance companies while undergoing rehabilitation, she realized she had a story to tell. Garrison's experience was a blueprint for how not to let the system dictate the direction, pace, and objectives of one's recovery. The message in her book is universal and transcends far beyond a survivor's handbook.  Her firsthand experience as a long-term patient embroiled in the health-care system is the backdrop for her compelling message of strength and hope. Wielding her trademark humor and optimism, she transcends the sobering subject of long-term recovery to show how anyone facing a life challenge can overcome adversity through laughter, boundless enthusiasm, and unflinching determination.

As a member of the HarperCollins Speakers' Bureau, Garrison has lectured at medical conferences where she evangelizes for humaneness in medicine. Speaking from the patient’s perspective, she espouses the value of quality patient care. It is important to illuminate the issues patients face beyond their illness. Health-care professionals, as they treat the medical condition, must remember that their patients are individuals with unique personalities who deserve to be treated as well with dignity and respect. She also speaks to support and patient advocacy groups where she shares her story of personal triumph against overwhelming odds.

Garrison is a graduate of Katherine Gibbs School and Champlain College, Burlington, VT, where she majored in retail marketing. She began her career in the computer industry as a composition editor, then migrated to technical writing, before settling on a career path in software customer support.

Garrison was raised in Andover, MA, in a loving if chaotic household with eight brothers, an upbringing that no doubt made her battle ready for the literal fight for her life. She currently resides with her husband Jim, son Rory, and dog Shaggy in a suburb outside Boston, where she is working on writing projects as she continues to overcome the effects of stroke


Feedback from Julia’s lecture for a Harvard Publishing Course:

“She definitely has a gift!”

“Courageous person.”

“Very inspirational”

“Good and humorous teacher”


Praise for Julia Fox Garrison:

“You are an inspiration to all and you do it with such fabulous humor and obvious love of life! I have had nothing but overwhelming kudos for you as our speaker – the volunteers have come in one right after another and thanked us for having you!”
— Jane F. Karaman, Manager of Volunteer Services, Northeast Hospitals

“Everyone felt inspired, motivated, and thoroughly enjoyed Julia’s personality. She’s witty, fun, honest, and quite humorous! I’d recommend her for any event. Julia and her story are absolutely incredible!”
— A.H., American Heart Association


Praise for Don't Leave Me This Way:

“It’s as if your wise-cracking neighbor, the one who can always come up with a biting yet hysterically funny story in any disaster, turned a handicap into a stand-up routine. Garrison has an edgy sense of irony that prevents the horrendous events...from becoming too maudlin or depressing. Readers can bring this book to the beach and laugh out loud...There are also moments showing Garrison’s incredible sensitivity.”
Chicago Sun-Times

“Fierce optimism and even fiercer wit…(A) unique tone and utterly un-maudlin appeal.”
— Elle

“Worth reading, every page of it.”
 Philadelphia Inquirer

“A stroke (literally) of luck helped define the essence of her life. Her inspirational story can help us find ours.”
— Mehmet Oz MD, author of YOU, THE OWNER'S MANUAL

“Julia Fox Garrison is living proof that it matters little what happens to you-but it matters greatly how your respond to what happens. Her inner strength, fortitude and sense of humor are a blueprint for anyone who has forgotten that hope not only springs eternal, but also is available to them no matter what may come their way.”
— John St. Augustine, talk radio host and author of Be the Change- Commonsense Principles for Living an Uncommon Life

“This book changed the way I practice medicine. All doctors who read this will forever have Julia in their hearts and minds when they talk with patients about serious issues.”
— Gary Sobelson, MD, President, New Hampshire Medical Society

“Julia Fox Garrison’s story isn’t just about her own recovery, it’s about the best in all of us. Julia helps us access our own strengths as we read about hers.”
— Carol Kauffman, Ph.D. Professor, Harvard Medical School

“What is it that makes Julia’s story a gem in a sea of others’ with life challenges? We’d have to say she has raised the bar on honesty and irreverence… to the level of sacred.”
— Brenda Michaels and Rob Spears, hosts of Conscious Talk Radio

“Her humorous, tear-jerking, struggle-to-recover-against-all-odds story is a lesson in finding silver linings.”
— Publishers Weekly

“Wickedly humorous, brutally honest.”
— Chicago Tribune