Jill Griffin

Jill Griffin was one of my dearest friends. She was one of the co-founders and co-chairs of Pittsburgh Metsquerade. She was a kind, gentle friend, a fierce advocate, loving wife and mother.

Jill worked tirelessly to learn more and educate others about metastatic breast cancer (MBC) since her diagnosis in January or 2017 to the day MBC stole her from us, on April 1, 2020. She attended research conferences, Metsquerades across the country, participated in Stampede & Die-ins, lobbied on the Hill.  

I only met Jill after her MBC diagnosis. It was our shared passion for advocacy that brought us together, but Jill was much more than an advocate. She was certainly more than cancer.
I asked her family members to help me write this dedication, and I am thankful that they shared many facets of Jill that I did not know before. Like the fact that she loved baseball and grew up playing with her brothers (instead of playing softball with the girls). She was a HUGE Nolan Ryan fan. She used to umpire her sons’ baseball games when they were growing up.

Jill was an accomplished high school athlete herself. She held records in track & field which may still be records for 400/800m hurdles or sprints. Her love for sports and “the athletic genes” were passed on to her boys, especially Brian. She also played basketball in high school and had her front tooth knocked out. To the best of my knowledge, Brian did not inherit the proclivity for getting his front teeth knocked out. What he (and JP) inherited was her love for riding bicycles.

As a child, Jill always wanted a horse and actually was very good at riding horses. She loved all other animals and was always very caring and nurturing towards them. This was passed on to her sons, especially JP and Ethan. She loved Tigger and Winnie the Pooh so much that in one of the annual family photographs everyone wore matching Tigger shirts.
Jill loved the beach, camping, New York City, especially Broadway plays. She always enjoyed St. Paddy’s Day parade in Pittsburgh with friends and family. When it comes to cars, she always enjoyed driving Jeeps and nearly every vehicle she had was a Jeep.  This love was also spread throughout her family – they all had or have a Jeep at one point.

She was always very accepting of others and truly a ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ mindset.  This was passed onto her family especially growing up in a small PA town where there’s not much diversity or open differences with people, particularly in the 90’s and early 2000’s.

Jill was love and kindness and even though she is no longer with us physically, she lives on in all the values and traits that are instilled in her sons and many others who had a privilege to know her (myself included).

Jill died the way she lived, on her own terms and surrounded by her loved ones. If you knew our wonderful friend, please remember her bright beautiful spirit, her compassion, her love, and her passion. Honor her by living in such a way. Every day.

Please don’t ever say she lost a battle with cancer. Jill won by the grace and courage she lived with. Honor Jill’s memory by educating about MBC, by supporting people living with MBC, and by supporting research for treatment of MBC.