After 7½ years of living a mostly happy, healthy and very active life since her original diagnosis, Jill had finally found her wings and soared away.
Pat Hancock, Dragons Abreast NT wrote:
Jill and I were diagnosed at the same time in Darwin. We were introduced by a mutual friend, herself a survivor, who thought we would get along well and be good support during the surgery, treatment and recovery process. Our friend was right on both counts. She was an important part of my emotional and spiritual recovery in those early days and continued to be a good friend for the rest of the time left to her.
Jill’s quirky sense of humour appealed to mine. As soon as I had finished all treatment I joined Dragons Abreast Northern Territory and talked Jill into coming along as well. I can’t take the sole credit for her joining DANT, as her long time friend Kay Taaffe and our so generous ambassador, Madeleine Luck, were also encouraging her towards the pink ladies. Those early days of DANT in 2002 saw us having early Saturday mornings on the water, followed by the mandatory coffee and chat. (Did I mention Jill loved a chat?) This was when DANT was still under the NT Breast Cancer Voice banner and we were fast establishing a name for ourselves in Darwin as active and vocal advocates for the cause. More importantly, we were showing other survivors that they could stand up and be counted.
Jill and I both went to the inaugural breast cancer regatta in Auckland in 2003, then drove down through the North Island, a first for me but something Jill, a Kiwi who had lived in Aus. for many years, had done many times before. In planning for the trip we arranged a hire car, but it was only the day before we were to leave that Jill told me “Oh no, I won’t be driving. I never drive except in Darwin.” I subsequently found out she wasn’t much good at navigating either but I will keep that for another story.
Jill had always had a full and active life and this didn’t change with her diagnosis. If anything, she packed more into her days. She had always been sporty, with tennis and squash and of course her Hash House Harriets. I found out at the funeral her Hash name is “Kiwi Roo” (her preference) and “Nosey” (with reference to her surname and definitely not her preference!). There were lots of other activities, including mah jong and U3A. On top of this were her extended friendships. As she loved people and life Jill thrived on her friendships.
Jill was intelligent, funny, elegant, full of life and a Diva of the first order. But I think what I appreciated most was her acceptance of people, no matter what. I am so happy that circumstances brought her into my life and she remains in my heart. Jill met her destiny with courage and grace when the time came.