“I stood up and I almost buckled into the arms of a stranger.”
That was what Jill Conley said when she received the news she was diagnosed with cancer. That was one of several highly-charged and emotional remarks made by Conley during Friday’s Ninth Annual Pink Luncheon.
Conley told her story of both courage and tenacity to a record crowd of 560 at New River Fellowship.
“It was a record turnout and a new record for financial generosity from Parker County businesses and individuals,” said Zan Prince co-chairman of the event and board member of the Parker County Health foundation. “Jill and Bart Conley have an incredible story of faith, love and perseverance and we appreciate them sharing with us. We pray with them as they continue their journey.”
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Conley was diagnosed with breast cancer one day before her 32nd birthday in July of 2009. She had just gotten married to her husband, Bart, and married for only six months, when she was told that she had Invasive Ductorial Breast Cancer. Immediately, she started treatment.
She had 16 rounds of chemotherapy, 33 radiation treatments, a double mastectomy and several surgeries to remove a severely-infected implant.
After two and a half years of treatment and a short remission, in January of 2012, she received the “horrible news” that the cancer had returned. Only this time, the cancer had now taken up residence in her bones, settling behind her rib cage.
“I was shocked,” she said. “Bart and I had been married less than a year when we found out; our whole marriage has been cancer.”
She said, however, her husband has been a “huge” support referring to him as her “rock.”
Her determination and fight to battle cancer drove her to create a foundation, Jill’s Wish.
“When I was contacted to do [Pink Luncheon], I was so passionate about doing it because what you are doing to raise money - it’s like you guys are angels on wheels, because the lives you are saving - it’s real,” Conley said. “Everybody in this room is saving lives.”
Conley told the crowd that through her foundation she wanted to make a difference before she died. She said the one thing to take away from the luncheon was to know your body.
“If you see a change, go to a doctor right away,” she urged.
Just five week’s earlier, at a recent checkup, doctors told her the cancer has spread to her liver.
“Another bump in the road,” she said emotionally. “But I’m still here and I am a live and I will not give up.” The crowd applauded loudly.
Conley’s attitude remains positive and she urged those attending to appreciate every day and to “be nice to each other because you never know what others are going through.”
For more information about Jill’s Wish go to www.jillswish.org.