Connecticut woman helping cancer patients amid her own terminal diagnosis

Good Morning CT at Nine

New Britain – No one fights alone. That’s the message behind a symposium being planned by the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at The Hospital of Central Connecticut. The Inaugural Jill Bertolini Symposium is serving as an important fundraiser. It’s open to the public, and the information being offered could save someone’s life.

In August of 2019, Jill Bertolini, the event’s namesake and a Hartford HealthCare employee, was diagnosed with stage zero breast cancer shortly after her wedding at the age of 41. She would go on to have a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.

Bertolini and her husband then bought their dream home in September of 2020. That’s when Bertolini noticed she wasn’t feeling well. She attributed much of it to the chaos of the move. Days later, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

Bertolini set a goal for herself that every October she would put together a basket full of items for mastectomy patients as part of their healing and recover. She would then have her breast surgeon give that basket to a patient in need. The “Jill Basket” is a collection of must-haves – items that made Jill’s own recovery after surgery a little easier.

“I wanted to create some sort of way for women to feel loved, wrapped in warmth and wrapped in care,” explained Bertolini. “If this is my legacy and as long as it helped one woman and made her feel better that’s all that matters to me.”

Hartford HealthCare wants to ensure that these baskets will be available to all mastectomy patients moving forward at The Hospital of Central Connecticut and MidState Medical Center – where Bertolini spent much of her career.

Attendees of the symposium will hear more about Jill’s story and learn information regarding support programs and services available for Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute patients and their loved ones, information about the latest technology and programs for early detection, and a question and answer session.

“Through our medical experts you will learn about the advances in modern medicine that offering healing and hope to those facing a cancer diagnosis,” said Camelia Lawrence, MD, director of breast surgery at The Hospital of Central Connecticut and MidState Medical Center.

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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