April 18, 2012
WASHINGTON - Georgetown sophomore Carly McCaffrey(El Granada, Calif./St Ignatius College Prep) took it upon herself to honor a rower she only met when she was a senior in high school, and never competed with, but was still so impacted by her story that she wanted to do something.
McCaffrey is a graduate of St Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco and is in the midst of her second season as a member of the Hoyas women's rowing team. When she was a senior in high school, she had an opportunity to meet Jill Costello, a former rower from her high school who went on to compete collegiately at Cal. In June 2009, she was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Costello set three goals for her senior year - to graduate, help her team win its league title and compete in the NCAA Championships and to beat lung cancer. She graduated from Cal in May 2010, but passed away on June 24.
In her memory, Jill's Legacy was formed and this weekend, on Sunday, April 22, a Jog for Jill will be held on the Georgetown campus. The 5K walk/run, hosted by Jill's Legacy, the foundation named in her honor to help raise money for lung cancer research, is one of seven similar events to be held across the country.
Though she is far removed from her hometown area and never had the chance to compete with her, McCaffrey said the meeting she had with her compelled her to do something.
"I decided to organize Jog for Jill Georgetown to support Jill's legacy and cause from here in Washington," McCaffrey said. "I felt out of touch with Jill's community on the West Coast and having heard of events held at other campuses, I decided the best way I could support not only Jill's fight, but the fight of all those affected by lung cancer, was to hold a Jog for Jill here at Georgetown."
It was a daunting task for McCaffrey, a science, technology and international affairs major, to do so in the middle of her competitive season, but through her practices with the Georgetown team, it drew her even closer to Costello.
"Jill and I both rowed for our high school in San Francisco and although I didn't have the chance to row with her, when I met her, I was inspired by her story," she explained. "Our team named a new boat after her and I had the opportunity to meet her at the dedication."
"The rowing community is especially tight-knit and when combined with a Jesuit high school, I felt a strong connection to Jill's community and her cause."
McCaffrey wasn't sure what to expect when she had the idea for a Jog for Jill at Georgetown, but she was focused on her goal and drew great support from people around her.
"My hope is to get as many people out jogging for Jill as possible," McCaffrey said. "The two main goals are to raise as much money as we can and to spread awareness about Jill's Legacy and lung cancer. I have been so lucky to have a great amount of support behind to run from many groups and people I've encountered. We're always looking to raise more and get more people registered, not only up until the event, but for years to come as well."
What McCaffrey hopes, most of all, is that putting an event like this together will help to bring greater awareness.
"What Jill went through impacted me because it easily could have been me in her shoes," McCaffrey said. "Anyone can get lung cancer. Jill had no family history and had never smoked. Her fight was and still is important to my high school and the larger rowing community. Jill never gave up and worked tirelessly to raise awareness and support for lung cancer. As part of Jill's community, I want to do my part in continuing her legacy and her fight."
Registration for Jog for Jill Georgetown will begin at 10 a.m., with the run/walk starting (and finishing) on the Georgetown campus at 11 a.m.
"I couldn't have done this without the support of the women's rowing team and my coaches and teammates," McCaffrey said. "I'm really looking forward to everyone coming out and showing Jill's attitude of doing great things and believing that what you want is attainable."