Cancer Warrior Teaches Life Lessons


We learn from resilient souls often after their death, after words have been said and written about them. Such is the case of Jill Brzezinski-Conley who died of breast cancer at age 38 but left behind a foundation that encouraged people to “Rock What you Got…”


The editorial by her friend Laura Ungar in USA TODAY on Feb 17, 2016 caught my eye as well as my heart. The accompanying picture of Jill showed a beautiful woman with a huge laugh and a set of perfect teeth.


For those of you who didn’t read that edition, I am taking the liberty of sharing Jill’s lessons that came to her friend Laura because they are too valuable to miss. Here is what Laura shared.


Live your purpose


Jill proclaimed a purpose of believing that true beauty was defined by kindness, love and confidence. She spoke around the nation, encouraging everyone to ignore the phoniness of physical beauty and look instead at the beauty within.


Live in the moment


While many of us worry about the future or berate ourselves for the past, Jill apparently kept THIS MOMENT her total focus: from dancing in a kitchen to forgoing chemo to be with her family and friends. Wow. And her I sit worrying about “what’s next?” instead of thinking “What’s now!”


Be generous


As Laura described her friend, Jill seemed to want to know about others. She wrote messages to other patients, founded a charity to raise money for families fighting cancer and connected with others even up to her last days.


Live within someone’s story in order to write about it


Jill brought Laura into her world, sharing all that was happening and allowing her to stay beside her as the cancer spread. Read the full story here.  It is not my story to tell. It is Laura’s.


As Laura expressed it, Jill’s power was to use her gifts to be an instrument of God. It reminded me that we all are instruments that can be used to inspire and help others. What’s your choice?

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