June 24, 2010 will forever be a day that forever CHANGED my life!!! I lost someone who ultimately changed my life in ways she will never truly know!!! That day I lost the most beautiful, spirited angel Jillian Helene Weinkauf Costello. So who was Jill to me, well our dads are First cousins so there's the connection right there. However though we were never close & it was only 2 years ago that I got into contact with her. Knowing that I missed out on growing up & getting to know the amazing person she was ultimately breaks my heart!!!
I am truly blessed with the gift she gave me, because of her I know there is NOTHING I CANNOT DO!!! After I found out she had stage 4 lung cancer in June 2009 I quickly signed up for Caring Bridge & wrote her little words of encouragement & support. In all honestly it was her words she wrote in her journals that truly inspired me everytime. Her words were so eloquent & so beautiful. She wrote amazing things in which you would never guess she was sick. It was a beautiful thing, true words of wisdom. Instead of saying poor me, or why me she faced it head on & continued to live her life. With chemotherapy, Radiation & all Jill stayed in school & continued to be the Coxswain on her Rowing Team at Berkeley. She fiercely continued to live her life. In September 2009 she did her first lung cancer walk in Golden Gate park for the Bonnie J Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. She created a "jog 4 Jill" in Berkeley with the help of 1000 students, family & friends & raised over $50,000. It was the largest amount of money raised for an event for Lung Cancer. She continued to practice with her rowing team through the next few months & lead her team to a PAC 10 Championship & actually won PAC Athlete of the year.
That was something she wanted more than anything. She also Graduated from CAL Berkeley with Honors in May. She never let anything stand in her way. June 20th is a day I will never forget, we got news that Jill wasn't doing good & probably wasn't going to make it. I was devastated, but Jill posted something that day, that completely changed everything. She set out a plan for the next Jog 4 Jill to be even BIGGER & to get the word out BIG TIME. She wanted to spread the word so that EVERYONE knew!!!
She wanted to beat Lung cancer not for her, but for everyone else. She wanted the word out even more. Sadly 4 days later Jill passed away on June 24th, 2010. She left a great impact on my life, & forever changed me. At her memorial they passed out teal bracelets (Jills favorite Color) with Jog 4 Jill 09.12.10 on it. I have not taken mine off my wrist since. It serves as a daily reminder to always believe in all things that are good & is a constant reminder that I can truly do ANYTHING. A huge ad campaign took over San Francisco with Jill's picture on muni buses & billboards to spread lung cancer awareness. The first time I saw one i was lost in city & asked for a sign & I looked up & I saw one of her Billboards & started crying tears of joy & I found where I was going after that. Each time I saw one I'd get chills & just a good feeling & vibe. That September over 5,000 people came in honor of Jill & Raised over $300,000!!!!!! I know Jill was with us all that day. I felt her presence like I do everyday. Another jog 4 Jill Berkeley was put together on February 6th 2011 & raised nearly $50,000. Now there are Jogs 4 year happening annual & all across the Country. Its an amazing thing. Another race will happen this September 18th, & I know it will be bigger than ever.
I come to you in hopes of raising some $$$$ that is near & dear to my heart, but was also a huge part of Jill's. My birthday is in less than a week & I am hoping to raise some $$$ for this amazing cause. There is nothing I want for my birthday except for this. I truly & sincerely mean this. So I hope in your heart of hearts you find it to help me with this. I want to help end this disease so that another 22 year girl doesn't have to go through this or anyone for that matter. ANYONE can get lung cancer, Jill showed us that. She never smoked, & I want to help change that nasty stigma; that it's an old man's disease & smokers get it. If I have a say in it that will change. With your help we can be a start of changing that & spread awareness & find a cure. I made a vow to help End Lung cancer to Jill, & I will not go back on that, just like Jill never would. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!!
ALL MY LOVE
KRISTIN ELIZABETH COSTELLO
"Life is all about how we handle the challenges we are given."
"Once you know what you believe in, your faith will be unbreakable.~ Jillian Costello
“My promise to Jill is to work harder, faster and more furiously to find an end to this disease and I know that Jill will be by my side and in my heart the whole way.”—Bonnie J. Addario, June 24, 2010
“Because of ALL OF YOU, Jill didn’t spend her last year dying…she spent it living.” —Mary Costello, Jill’s Mom, June 24, 2010