Jill Frey — Founding Member of YSC, Tour de Pink Rider
For the past 15 years, Jill has generously donated her time and energy to Young Survival Coalition (YSC), which she has been part of since its beginning. Jill cycles in the annual Tour de Pink (TdP) breast cancer bike ride, is a former board member and currently serves on YSC’s development advisory committee. As a sustaining donor and a member of YSC’s Leadership Circle, Jill supports YSC’s mission to be a strong voice for young women with breast cancer.
At 31, newly married and planning a family, Jill was diagnosed with breast cancer, as were her mother and maternal grandmother before her — both in their 40s. Even with the love, support and understanding of women so close to her, Jill felt alone.
After her husband Jonathon told her about a colleague’s sister, Lisa Lesko, who had been diagnosed before 40, Jill reached out to and connected with Lisa. In November 1998, they attended a support group meeting together in New York City for young women that became the catalyst for YSC.
As the idea of YSC became a reality, Jill drew on her passion and talent for fundraising to co-chair the group’s first fundraising event with fellow YSC founding member Lisa J. Frank. The event raised several thousand dollars and introduced YSC to a broader audience.
By 1999, it became clear that YSC needed a brand identity, so Jill collaborated with a graphic designer to create YSC’s original logo. Later that year she helped to secure YSC’s first corporate sponsor, the hair products company Goldwell, which funded YSC’s first brochure, “Just Because You’re a Young Woman, Doesn’t Mean Breast Cancer Can’t Happen to You.”
With these new materials in hand to help explain the uniqueness and scope of issues faced by young survivors, the women of YSC headed to Washington D.C. Led by co-founder and breast cancer advocate Joy Simha, they made YSC’s first connections with members of Congress and leaders in the breast cancer world.
In 2006, Jill took her volunteering to a new level by signing up for TdP. Unsure about being able to cover the distance of the three-day ride, Jill trained hard and conquered every mile. Ever since, she rides each year to raise money for young women fighting breast cancer — like her sister Judy, who was originally diagnosed 10 years ago and is now battling metastatic breast cancer. Jill believes, “It is important to be excited about your role as a volunteer. That excitement will keep you committed to the organization and helping it to grow.”
Thank you Jill for your amazing contributions over the past 15 years and for your continued dedication to the mission and vitality of the organization you helped start!