Jill Canales

Orange, California, United States
Organization: The Pink Journey Foundation
Contact: jcanales2@memorialcare.org

Thirteen years ago, at the age of 42 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I knew virtually nothing about breast cancer at that time other than I didn't want it. Sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago; other times it feels like it just happened.

My Story

So often the language around cancer are words related to war such as battle and survivor and fighter. I felt none of those. I was lost in a fog of medical terminology which continued to worsen as the details of my cancer emerged. Words like very aggressive, triple negative, and neoadjuvant chemotherapy were used. It's amazing how grief and gratitude trade off and come in waves. Since my diagnosis I have witnessed more compassion and genuine goodness than I could have imagined. I have the pleasure of spending my days with other breast cancer patients and I witness the deepest levels of human caring. I have spent the past 11 years immersing myself in breast cancer education, including graduating from NBCC’s Project Lead. I currently work as the Director of Peer Navigation, Breastlink Angels, Memorial Care Cancer Institute. Additionally, I am aboard member of The Pink Journey Foundation. Having breast cancer taught me that I can carry a burden that seems too heavy to bear; it taught me grit and grace. Cancer showed me where my courage lies and gave me my calling in life. Cancer taught me that I can use my own pain to woman heal.