Jill Bertolin's Story

Jill Bertolini

No One Fights Alone
 

Jill Bertolini, a breast cancer survivor and Hartford HealthCare colleague is dedicated to ensuring that all our patients undergoing a mastectomy are provided with post-operative necessities in a soothing take-home basket.

With a donation of $150, a “Jill Basket” can be purchased for a patient TODAY!

DONATIONS to support the JILL BERTOLINI FUND at the hospital can be made here.

Read Jill’s Story

Jillene Bertolini’s battle with cancer began in August 2019 – just 11 days before her wedding. After being called back for a second mammogram, she says she knew something was wrong. Jillene decided to temporarily put it in the back of her mind and go on, as planned, with her wedding and honeymoon. On October 1, one week after returning home from a safari in Tanzania with her husband, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a double mastectomy on October 30, which was eventually followed by reconstructive surgery. Jillene considered herself lucky because she didn’t need radiation or chemotherapy and was cancer free.

In September 2020, less than a year later, Jillene noticed that she wasn’t feeling well. She attributed much of it to her being rundown due to a big move she and her husband had just made after buying their dream home. A feeling of worsening indigestion and pain in her rib cage persisted and two weeks later the 42-year-old ended up in the emergency room. A CAT scan revealed something abnormal and she was admitted to the hospital. She would later learn that she had stage four pancreatic cancer, which was inoperable. The devastating news was made worse when she also learned that the cancer metastasized to her liver and lungs.

Doctors told Jillene that patients with her prognosis who undergo treatment live an average of a year. Jillene opted to go through treatment and has seen positive results so far. As that’s ongoing, Jillene says she wants to continue with all the goals she set for herself prior to her second cancer diagnosis. One notable goal: making sure that every October she gives her breast surgeon a basket full of items that will then be given to a mastectomy patient to provide comfort and healing as part of their recovery. Jillene wants these baskets to continue as part of her legacy – as she holds onto strength, determination and love from family and friends to help guide her along the road ahead in her own cancer journey.

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Philanthropy Department Contacts

Leslie Cifone

Regional Director of Philanthropy & Volunteer Services
860.224.5441
Leslie.Cifone@hhchealth.org

Tina M. Fabiani

Manager of Philanthropy
860.224.5568
Tina.Fabiani@hhchealth.org

Cheryl J. Belomizi

Development Officer, Annual Giving
860.224.5624
Cheryl.Belomizi@hhchealth.org

Nancy Honore

Database Coordinator
860.224.5685
Nancy.Honore@hhchealth.org

Robyn Nichols

Philanthropy Associate & Grants Writer
860.224.5567
Robyn.Nichols@hhchealth.org