Jill Costello, University Of California

On this day we all say thank you, Pacific Takes looks back at a student-athlete who did all she could to give.

Jill Costello received the news before the start of her senior season with the California Golden Bears. The Cal women's crew coxswain had been diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer, and her chances of survival were slim.

She passed away the year afterwards. But her legacy will live on thanks to the example she set in the lsat year she had.

Costello had an inspirational season leading her crew team. She captained the varsity 8+ boat all through her senior year to win the Pac-10 championships, and finished second in the national championships. She would pass away only a month after leading her last race in the water, but she was a sturdy Golden Bear all the way to the end and never stopped leading and inspiring others on her team and in the Cal community.

What she did off the field was even more inspiring. Costello completed her Cal bachelor's degree in political economy at the same time she concluded her crew days, earning Pac-10 academic All-American status. But what made here even more remarkable was that she took her fight to the disease that was threatening her.

Costello went through multiple avenues to try and combat lung cancer. She joined up with the Bonnie Addario Lung Cancer Foundation to help raise money and awareness for the fight. During her last semester, the organization helped raise $50,000 for the cause. Costello organized the first "Jog For Jill" event, which is a 5k event across campus where people all raise up to fight for cancer. These events have been held at Berkeley, but also have spread around the country.

After her death, many of her teammates and friends tried to honor Jill's fight by signing up for her cause. Team Jill has become an integral part of the Cal and lung cancer community, which is now dedicated to fighting and beating the cursed disease in all its incarnations. Lung cancer is one of the deadliest diseases out there when it's not out treated, and every bit of raised awareness can go a long way. Over $350,000 has been raised through events organized and conducted by Team Jill for the benefit of lung cancer research.

The NCAA awarded her with one of the 2011 Insipiration Awards for the example she set with her courageous performance all throughout her last year with us. Her example will hopefully lead many others to accomplish many of the goals she achieved in her last year on this Earth.

Find out more about the cause by going to the Foundation's website and clicking here. Be part of your own human highlight reel when you become a member of Team Jill.

To see the rest of the Buick Human Highlight Reel, and even share a story of your own, go to ncaa.com/buick. This post is sponsored by Buick.

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