Jill Brzezinski-Conley was an incredible woman. She lost both breasts to breast cancer at barely 32 years old — less than a year after marrying her husband. She endured a double mastectomy, 31 rounds of radiation, 16 rounds of chemo, and hormone blockers. She lost her hair, eyelashes, fingernails, and toenails and also grappled with nausea, mouth sores, hemorrhoids, and exhaustion. After three years of attacking the horrific disease from every angle, she got the devastating news that her cancer was incurable; it had spread to her bones.
She wrestled with feelings of despair, disgust, and bitterness after getting her terminal diagnosis. But she felt that weight lift after she came to the realization that she had to accept and embrace the diagnosis in order to truly live.
Jill channeled this passion and promoted both inner and outer beauty through an amazing photo shoot set in Paris.
Talented photographer Sue Bryce photographed the shoot, and after completion, the video went viral. Jill went on to become an advocate for awareness, and influenced many with her confidence, her kindness, and her beauty at speaking engagements across the country. She also started Jill’s Wish Foundation, an organization that gives funds to cancer patients so they can focus on their recovery and spending time with loved ones.
In 2014, the cancer crept into her left lung. A short time later, it invaded her liver. Then, it spread even farther and metastasized into her right lung. She kept fighting, enduring more chemo and fatigue in the process, but staying positive.
On Feb 2nd, 2016, after battling breast cancer for 6 1/2 years, she passed away peacefully in her sleep with her mother and her husband by her side. She was 38.
Even now that she’s gone, we know Jill’s beautiful message and light will shine on. Our hearts go out to her loved ones and everyone she’s touched.
Young women tend to have a more aggressive form of breast cancer than their older counterparts, and many also face issues with infertility, early menopause, body image, developing careers, and raising young families. Getting questions answered and anxieties soothed can be difficult, so it’s crucial that they have a support system in place. Help support young women facing a breast cancer diagnosis by donating here. 100% of your donation goes directly to the support program. Thank you!
C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband, son, and dog.