Connecticut woman facing terminal diagnosis makes her life mission to help other cancer patients


(WTNH) — It’s a woman’s call to help others diagnosed with cancer while she fights for her life for the second time in less than a year.

It doesn’t seem possible someone could be diagnosed with cancer during such a happy time of life.

“One week after we got back from our honeymoon, I was diagnosed with stage-zero breast cancer,” said Jill Bertolini. This was just in August of 2019.

But Salem’s Bertolini is a fighter and opted for the double mastectomy.

“I really considered myself to be so lucky. I didn’t need radiation or therapy. They got all the cancer during that surgery.”

She thought she was home free and shifted focus to helping others she’s the mind behind the “Jill Basket”. Gifts to help other women fighting the fight.

“I wanted to create gift baskets of all the items that really helped me through my recovery.”

But as her mission got started, she was diagnosed with cancer for the second time during the autumn of 2020. But this time, it was stage-four pancreatic cancer. That, doctors say, is unrelated to her breast cancer. And this time, the news is grim.

“The stage 4 means it already metastasized to my liver and my lungs.”

She’s fighting but has only been given a short time to carry out her life’s mission and dreams, forced to shift focus to treatment and living life to the fullest.

Two things that haven’t changed: Her positive attitude and her mission to help others through the “Jill Basket”. With the help of Hartford HealthCare, both are happening and will continue as long as she can do it.

Hartford HealthCare is putting on a symposium to raise money for the baskets — The Inaugural Jill Bertolini Symposium. The goal is to make this a permanent gift women can receive.

Event details
The Inaugural Jill Bertolini Symposium will be held on Tuesday, June 8 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at Trinity on Main, 69 Main Street, New Britain, CT. In-person tickets are $50, which will go towards the fundraising goal of the “Jill Baskets.” People can also attend virtually and are asked to make a donation. To register for the event, please call 1.855.HHC.HERE (1.855.442.4373) or visit and search “Bertolini” to register for the in person or virtual event.


  • To attend the event in person, please register here.
  • To attend the event virtually, please register here.
  • Or call 1.855.HHC.HERE (1.855.442.4373)


Donations to support the JILL BERTOLINI FUND at The Hospital of Central Connecticut can be made by clicking here or at MidState Medical Center by clicking here.

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