Jill’s story is very touching, and given that she is only a couple of years older than me it’s one that really resonates with me.
This beautiful video tells a little of Jill’s story and her desire to inspire and help other women around the world who might be coping with conditions that have affected how their bodies look.
Here’s Jill’s story:
I was 32 when diagnosed with breast cancer & had a double mastectomy. My battle has been brutal but I see myself as survivor. All I want is to help others.
Jill’s story has spread fast across the globe and she is overwhelmed by the support she’s received from so many. This site was created so those who love Jill and are praying for her, can share her journey, and for Jill to share with you, her story. It’s a place for Jill to help others. This remarkable young woman will change the way you live.
“I think the hardest time for me is the summer time. I feel my self esteem kind of gets tested. I sit at the pool and I stare at these women who are so lucky to have these beautiful breasts that I once had and maybe I took them for gratide. Then I find myself snapping back into reality and I then look down at my breasts and I think why am I even complaining, I AM ALIVE!!!”
Jill Brzezinski-Conley was diagnosed with Stage IIIC invasive breast cancer one day before her 32nd birthday on July 15th 2009 – just 6 months after she married the man of her dreams. Her journey began with the most progressive form of treatment available. Contrary to what most people think, the younger you are, the more aggressive breast cancer can be. Jill’s treatment included 16 rounds of grueling chemotherapy, 31 rounds of radiation and 4 surgeries including a double mastectomy with additional surgery ahead. During her treatment she suffered a broken rib and endured serious complications after her reconstructive surgery. However her strength and determination proved pivotal, and after 2 years Jill was in remission and now considers herself a survivor.
Unfortunately 12 months later Jill found out she had developed bone cancer and at 35 years old, the prognosis is terminal. Through all of this, Jill has kept her wit, determination, and never ending smile, with no room for self pity, while frequently making jokes about her baldness, lack of eyebrows and eyelashes. Her sense of humor, courage, positive attitude and inner beauty is truly remarkable. Anyone who has ever met Jill will tell you that she leaves you with a lasting impression. The room lights up upon her arrival.
In September 2012, Jill’s best friend Nikki Closser reached out to world acclaimed portrait photographer Sue Bryce. Sue was so overwhelmed with Jill’s story and the message she wanted to share with the world, that she was instantly determined to help this beautiful girl spread that message. Sue arranged for Nikki and Jill to meet her in Paris where she would photograph Jill, capture her incredible beauty and help to tell her story to inspire others and educate the world about Breast Cancer. In Jill’s own words, to help women – even one woman. A fabulous documentary was filmed in Paris by Hailey Bartholomew and soon after Sue and Hailey had created The Light That Shines.
“There are two ways of spreading light. To be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.” – Edith Wharton.
What’s beautiful to me is that this story has three fabulous females in it. Jill, her friend Nikki and the wonderful photographer who helped her to share her story, Sue Bryce.
So today I would like you to join me in acknowledging and celebrating Jill’s inspirational story, the sisterhood and support of her friend Nikki and the generosity of Sue to help to share this incredible woman’s message with the world.
“Beauty is the light in the heart”…it’s important for every woman to know that light exists within her own heart (regardless of any scars on the inside or outside), and to let it shine for all to see.
To help and support Jill on her journey, you can connect with her here: https://www.facebook.com/JillBrzezinskiConleyBreastFriends or http://jillfightscancer.com/
As you know, I would love to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the women who have inspired you as well. So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female, then send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with 3 simple details:
- Who is your Fabulous Friday Female? (Her name and location in the world)
- Why is she a Fabulous Friday Female to YOU? (How do you know her? What does she do? In what way is she inspiring?)
- A photo or link to a picture of her online (if there is a reason that you would prefer not to include a photo, just let me know)
So help me to share with all of our lovely ladies the real women who inspire YOU.
…and remember, as always, to Stay Fabulous too!