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  • Dec 24, 2012 7:33pm

    Dear Friends and Family of Jill,I live in NJ and came across Jill's story in SI two years ago.  It impacted me greatly and I remember making sure that my wife and two daughters (age 12 and 14) read it.  And then I saved it.  I realize now what a gift that issue was because just a few weeks later our younger daughter, Sydney, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer.  She was somewhat of an athlete herself (travel softball was her game) and I made sure that I referenced Jill's story to her (and myself) several times in the first few months of what turned out to be an incredibly difficult year of chemo and surgeries. In some way, I think Jill's story helped Sydney and the rest of the family emulate some of her bravery and incredible outlook on life and her situation.  Sydney too became known around here for her strength and her sense of humor as she "kicked cancer's butt'.  (she kept her own caringbridge site at caringbridge.org/visit/sydneybecker) .  Sydney has recently passed her one year remission point and is back playing softball (albeit on a leg with a titanium tibia and knee).  Just yesterday I was cleaning out my home office and all the hospital related paperwork from last year when I came across the SI article I had saved.  I just reread it again, and after wiping the tears I just wanted to let you know during what I'm sure is a difficult holiday season that our family here in New Jersey are still in awe of your Jill.  And we thank her for helping show us the way to fight and live with Sydney.  I'm still keeping the article. Best to you all.

    Jeff Becker

    1 person hearted this
  • Dec 3, 2012 9:13am

    Dear Jill,I was thinking about you last night on your 25th birthday, and remember with many chuckles your 21st birthday at Kappa. Parents Club was at Kappa decorating for Christmas, and your mom arrived with a bouquet of flowers all excited about taking you out to lunch for your special day. That day was all about your 21st! There were gifts and cards for you all over Kappa, cocktails and dinners and after dinner plans made. You friends and family made it memorable and exciting; they all loved you....
    You have given back your many gifts of love, determination, laughter, believing, and love of life to hundreds of thousands. Your gifts to us continue to grow each year and your legacy and love carries on BIG TIME.... 

    Lynette Ley

  • May 30, 2012 7:24pm


    I have been thinking of Jill all day today and decided to go back and read her inspirational words to all of us. It still amazes me that someone so sick can try to find words to comfort us.  I also have kept a file in my emails of all athe pics you have sent to me of Jill and the boys and of course the pines...What wonderful memories.  Thanks for keeping this online because I really needed it today.  Love you Jill and The Costello Clan.....

    Nancy McCarthy

  • May 30, 2012 12:05pm

    Dear family and friends of Jill,

    This morning I was not in the the best of moods. While waiting for a prescription, I chanced upon an old issue of SI and read the profile about Jill. Tears were streaming down my face as I read about her incredible spirit, courage, strength and love as well as the love and support of her family and friends. Suddenly my day did not seem so bad after all. Reading this story reminded me to live each day to the fullest and to find the joy in every day. Jill's life on earth was sadly too short, but her spirit continues to inspire. As you face the difficult upcoming anniversary of her death, know that the legacy of the way she lived her life lives on and continues to create small everyday miracles.

    mary May

  • May 7, 2012 2:31pm

    I came across this blog over a year ago....  I lost my sister to lung cancer when she was only 42 - never smoked - and left behind a husband and 3 young children.  When I came across this it touched me SO much..Sometimes there is a loss so devastating as to seem unimaginable and unbearable.Sometimes there is no reason; there is no explanation; there can be no understanding.
    There is only acceptance and acceptance in the absence of understanding is the true miracle of faith.
    I just had to tell you that it has touched many lives since then as I have shared it with others and it has helped them with their losses... and it still reminds me of my faith on a regular basis. thank you!  Hugs to you and your family!

    Jen Cole

  • Feb 16, 2012 9:53pm

    Hi Mary,I just learned that Kappa has created the Jill Costello Recruitment Award to honor the Kappa sister who goes above and beyond during recruitment each year! The only girls currently at Kappa that even knew Jill personally are all seniors; yet she known and honored by all...
    Darby was there leaving Jog for Jill flyers and bracelets; the girls were all excited about the 5K and really looking forward to it....So am I! See you March 11th!Love,Lynette

    Lynette Ley

  • Jan 9, 2012 10:58pm

    I've been glued to a friend's caringbridge page these past few days reading updates on her husband's battle with CNS lymphoma. For some reason I decided to take a look at Jill's page to help "prepare" for the news that he lost his battle with cancer here in the next few days. I am reminded of the strength and courage that Jill and her family had while she fought for her life.

    Thank you for reminding me that it's okay to grieve and celebrate at the same time. Thank you for reminding me that it's okay to be upset with God for taking Phil's (and Jill's) life too early and praise him for bringing more value to my life at the same time.

    My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the Costello family even now as we prepare for the loss of another life in the very near future.

    Coach Kim
    (SI field hockey)

    K. R.G.

  • Oct 3, 2011 11:32am

    HI Mary and Jim,Tom and I received an email from a Cal Fiji friend, Chris Jones. Chris is a fraternity brother of Toms from way back in our college days. His daughter is the coxswain at Univ of Penn and heading up a Jog for Jill at Penn! Chris sent an email out to hundreds of his contacts urging them to support Jill's legacy and Jog for Jill....... amazing. Jill is so in everyone's hearts.....I know she's smiling up there!Miss you,Love, Lynette

    Lynette Ley

  • Jul 8, 2011 10:49am

    Dear Mary,

    I've been thinking so much of Jill lately. Her picture greets me every morning in my little office cubicle at the Health Department where I work, and she is a constant reminder to look at each day as a chance to make someone else's life a little better and to celebrate the day.

    I was so touched to still receive a text from "Jill" first thing on my birthday, even though it was you who sent the text. Since I met her at Cal, she always made my birthday such a special day, and I'm pretty sure she was always one of the first, if not the first, to wish me a happy birthday (I can thank her early 5:30am practices for that.) I remember the first birthday I had with her when K.C. and Jill drove down to Pebble Beach to help me celebrate our "Yellow Party" where everyone had to wear yellow dresses and we demolished a five layer chocolate cake. And then of course, the next morning K.C. and Jill left before the crack of dawn to get Jill back to practice the next day. That birthday was so so special, and it was the first time I felt like I had made true friends at Cal that would last a lifetime.

    In fact, Jill made everyone's birthday and EVERY holiday so special. It's no wonder her own birthday became like a National Holiday at Kappa, because it was a reminder to all of us how our lives should be celebrated..not just every year, but every day.

    I am sending my love and thoughts your way, every morning when I see Jill's smiling face!

    Sandee Young

  • Jun 27, 2011 12:48pm

    Hi Mary,Jill was my coxswain at Cal - I was in the V8.  I just wanted to thank you and extend my gratitude to you for the recent post.  I carry Jill with me in my heart every day and I am so grateful for the lessons I learned while I knew Jill and your family, and the lessons I continue to learn from these experiences.  I send you and your family love.- Shay

    shay seager

  • Jun 27, 2011 11:20am

    Love and miss you, Jill.  I thought of you so many times over the weekend and I often think of you when I'm feeling overwhelmed or frustrated and you give me strength to keep moving forward.  You've given so much to so many people and I'm so proud to have been one of the lucky ones to have actually known you.  God bless.


    Julia Holian

    Julie Holian

  • Jun 26, 2011 7:38pm

    To all of Jill's family and friends:

    I like so many others first read about Jill in the Sports Illustrated article published last November.  That article was deeply moving - but reading all of Jill's brave posts in her journal here today I was once again deeply impressed by her story, her courage and her confidence in her ability to defeat this cruel, inexorable killer, cancer... which she fought like a lioness but could not conquer.

    The tribute by her Aunt was beautiful - her mom and cousin's words are also inspiring.  I am amazed by the strength of Jill's family and your determination to continue to bring the life of this courageous young woman to the attention of the world even a year after her death.  Her story (and yours) is a wonderful story that deserves to be told and to be heard.  No author of fiction, no matter how inspired, could weave a tale as beautiful as the story of Jill Costello.

    I have become more and more aware of the irrational way that we in the US approach the scientific battle against cancer:  instead of  the US government generously supporting research into cures for the most lethal types of cancer, we lavish spending on the more "popular" forms of this awful disease.  Breast and prostate cancer researchers are given more money than they can spend while the big killer, lung cancer, gets very little funding.  It is irrational and Jill brought this irrationality of ours to worldwide attention.  Thank you all for continuing to raise awareness of this gross disparity of research funding into a cure for the most lethal cancer of all - lung cancer.  And thank you for keeping this page as a living tribute to Jill.  May her story continue to inspire people around the world.

    Mark Donaghey
    Chicago, IL

    Mark Donaghey

  • Jun 25, 2011 12:17pm

    Dear Mary and Jom,

    On a typical San Francisco June foggy morning, I awake and think of Jill and the day seems brighter. Thank you so much for sharing her love with all of us.

    Nancy and Gordon Polen

    nancy polen

  • Jun 25, 2011 11:39am

    Dr. Jim and Mary and Family and Friends,

    We remembered Jill at Mass this morning  at Creighton University in Omaha, ironically where I was when Jill joined the angels.  Jill and your family have been such a powerful witness of persevering faith in the midst of devastating news, it cannot be recounted in words. Your presence at the 6:30 am Masses @ St. Brendan's with aunt Kathy and your closest friends was inspirational as you endured her prognosis and witness. Jill accomplished more in her 22 years on earth than many others accomplish in longer lifetimes by touching so many hearts.

    Jill's smiling face on billboards asking people to support research to help find a cure for cancer, her visits to Genetech and even my visits where she inspired me more than I her as I came to know her and her amazing humility as she won graduation awards testifying to her inspiration and leadership qualities from U.C. Berkeley all speak of a truly special angel.  Mary, your words of gratitude and acknowledgment of the angel in your life truly continue this legacy of powerful witness of love!

    May God Continue to Bless You, ( now with Jill),

    Fr. Mike Quinn

  • Jun 25, 2011 10:13am

    Mary & Jim,That our daughters shared a bit of this long strange ride together has been a great gift. I am continually awed at what the human spirit can abide and still 'find the joy' in everyday moments.  We all know that Jill accomplished more in one year that some will in a lifetime.  There is no doubt in my mind that she's still at it, big time, getting the work done, with a few more 'resources' to help her.  Whether we see it in our lifetimes or not, lung cancer will fall, and it will be Jill's doing.  Love, Niki Bates (aka Kelsey's mom)

    Niki Bates

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