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Jill Costello: A Profile In Courage And Leadership. The American Political Class: Not So Much

Jill Costello: A Profile In Courage And Leadership. The American Political Class: Not So Considerably

I hesitated to do this article for a number of factors. First, I could never ever do justice to the the fantastically written post that the following paragraphs are based on. The post is entitled "The Courage of Jill Costello" and was written by Chris Ballard. It appeared in the November 29, 2010 issue of Sports Illustrated. Second, I know my writing cannot do justice to the courage and leadership that Jill Costello exhibited during her lifetime. Third, I actually hesitated to compare Jill Costello to the behavior of our political class in the same write-up, the chasm of leadership and courage in between the two is unbelievably wide.

Nonetheless, I decided to go ahead anyway, with apologies up front, if I do not capture the fine writing of Chris Ballard or the courage and leadership impact of Jill Costello.

Jill Costello was a 21 year old junior and a coxswain on the crew team at the University of California when she was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, the most advanced form, even though she had in no way smoked a cigarette in her life. The survival rate is about 15% for this kind of cancer. The write-up describes the fight that Jill put up against the cancer:

- She put up with 14 rounds of chemo treatments.
- She put up with radiation treatments.
- She put up with aches and extreme fatigue
- She put up with night sweats, skin sensitivity, puffy cheeks, liquid retention, her abdomen swelled, and her ankles and feet swelled up so much that she could not wear shoes.
- She was weak and susceptible to the smallest illnesses such as a widespread cold that could lead to pneumonia in her weakened condition.
- She took an untold number of pills.
- She self injected herself with anticoagulant that often resulted in an instant new bruise.
- Soon after a lot of chemo sessions she was so weak that she could barely stand on her own.
- She continued her studies at Cal, attaining a four. in her final semester in spite of getting to use a powered cart to get to classes.
- She graduated with her class at Cal.
- She never ever stopped dreaming of finding back to the Cal crew team as the coxswain in one of their boats.

What impact did Jill have on other individuals although she was undergoing debilitating therapy: 

- She organized a charity run which attracted 5,000 folks and raised more than ,000.
- She spoke at Genentech, a cancer analysis firm.
- She exchanged emails with a half a dozen cancer patients around the globe.
- She was interviewed on NPR as a spokesperson for those lung cancer patients who never ever smoked.
- When returning from treatments, Jill and her family located mounds of food deposited on their doorstep from buddies.
- Her teammates, who had all scattered and left school for the summer when she was diagnosed, remotely put together two videos which they send to her to lift her spirits.
- At the beginning of the spring season, her teammates went out for a two mile run and when they returned they had taken off their sweatshirts to reveal tee shirts that read "Cal Crew Cancer Killers."
- Even though she was in France searching for a treatment and remedy, her teammates shed their conventional Cal uniforms for their race with their most heated opponent, Stanford, and wore unique uniforms in Jill's favorite color with the Cal bear logo replaced with a silhouette of Jill. Exactly where the word "Cal" generally was on their uniforms, "Jill" had replaced it. Needles to say, Stanford never had a chance.

Now back to her dream of returning to a Cal boat. On May 16, Jill got into the Cal varsity eight boat, and despite a bloody nose that developed in the middle of the race, led the Cal women's crew team to a victory over Stanford which allowed Cal to grow to be the 2010 Pac-10 champions. On Could 19, Jill discovered out that there would be no remedy for her condition, the remedies had not stopped the growth of the tumors in her lungs, bones, and liver. 

Despite the bad medical news, she spent the subsequent week or so like a typical coxswain would have and went about the duties of any coxswain. And in spite of her condition, Jill got into the Cal varsity eight boat and led her team to a second location finish in the nationals. Much less than a month later, Jill Costello passed away.

What an incredible story. Jill Costello's courage and leadership is possibly unparalleled in any story I have ever heard. She was focused on having a positive impact on the world and her teammates, regardless of constant and excruciating discomfort. As a leader, she made other people around her much better in what they did and who they had been. She created courageous decisions to train and race and support her teammates in spite of chronic discomfort and fatigue, pain and fatigue that most others would have succumbed to and taken the simple way out. She was a leader in so many approaches, focused on positively impacting those right away around her and numerous, many much more that she possibly in no way met. Unbelievable.

Now, not to diminish this outstanding young lady's fortitude and positive attitude, when was the last time any of Jill Costello's adjectives were used to describe our political class:

- Courage - rarely, if ever, do you discover a courageous politician. They will hide behind the spin doctors and campaign managers lest they dare to take a stand that may well irritate a voting block. Always best to take the effortless way out to steer clear of the discomfort and fatigue a courageous choice may possibly entail

- Leadership - rarely, if ever, do you see a politician stand up and tell the country the hard truth about what is reality and then lead the country to face that hard reality. Better not to endanger their re-election chances, the good of the country be damned.

- Concentrate - when has our political class ever focused on something? The 40 year old war on drugs is still a losing battle, the 30 year search for a coherent energy policy is still lost in the woods, we still getting a failing public school program, our borders are a joke when it comes to illegal immigration, and a whole slew of problems never get fixed. No concentrate, no solutions.

- Make Those Around You Far better - politicians have called segments of Americans some ugly names more than the past two years such as racists, un-American, Neanderthals, members of the Klan, "the enemy" and other denigrating names. If we had any Jill Costellos in our political ranks, they would not allow this behavior to happen. A leader would make all of us much better people and citizens, like Jill did to those about her and about the world. Our politicians would rather run down others for their own low-cost political acquire.

As we sit here these days, our politicians are arguing over how to tax rich Americans, a choice that will have minimal impact on a TRILLION national debt. They denied a bid to relieve all of America's small company owners the burden of filing massive and useless paper work associated with the health care reform legislation, not simply because it was a bad notion, but because they did not have the courage to uncover and cut billion from a .5 TRILLION budget, a.five% cut. Thus, their lack of courage will burden millions of American little organizations for no reason. They are bickering about how to cut the out of control deficit spending given that none of them wants to be a true leader and accept the political hits that might happen regardless of what may possibly be best for the country. No courage, no leadership, no concentrate.

I wish I knew Jill Costello, Chris Ballard writes about an outstanding young woman. I also wish our politicians knew her, knew her fortitude, knew her focus, knew her compassion, knew her courage, and knew her leadership. I also wish they would commence acting in her spirit for the excellent of the country, even if it is painful and fatiguing and has downsides to their own personal political careers.