“Life is all about how we handle the challenges we’re given.”
On Sunday the Ohio State women’s rowing team hosted a challenge of its own in honor of Jill Costello, a California crew member who lost her battle with lung cancer in 2010. Costello is credited with the aforementioned quote, and it became her mantra throughout her illness. Costello’s tragic death at the tender age of 22 inspired the nationwide rowing community to host 5K races in her honor to benefit the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and its young adult advisory board, Jill’s Legacy. Sunday’s event marked the second annual Jog for Jill at Ohio State, and it proved successful.
While Sunday was busy with an important March Madness OSU basketball game and weather that hardly felt like spring, runners, supporters and members of the OSU’s women’s rowing team made their way to Fred Beekman Park for the event. It was about 30 degrees with wind and snow, but the elements did not seem to affect anyone’s spirit at this inspirational event. The track was painted with encouraging messages like “Keep going for Jill!” and “Use those lungs of steel!” to help push runners through the conditions to the finish line. A little snow was a minor challenge compared to the hurdles Costello soared over, so runners were proud to honor her no matter the temperature.
Members of the organization Changing Health, Attitudes and Actions to Recreate Girls formed a team and braved the weather to show their support for a fellow OSU organization. CHAARG president Emelie Moeller, who is no stranger to running, described her motivation for completing the race.
“Jog for Jill wasn’t just a race for me, it was a way to unite with everyone there and realize that we were there for a deeper reason than the run itself,” she said. “It let me dedicate a run to something beyond my personal goals.”
Moeller and the CHAARG girls believe that running is largely mental, and having an inspiration such as Costello in their minds became encouragement through each stride.
Jog for Jill began at OSU last year, but through tireless efforts, the OSU rowers were able to more than double the amount of money they raised last year for a total that exceeded $20,000. OSU sophomore rower and Jog for Jill committee member Anne Ayers commented on how organizing the event brought her team closer together.
“The determination exemplified in Jill’s story perfectly demonstrates the spirit of rowers,” she said. “Participating in Jog for Jill was a way to not only give back to the community by positively impacting lung cancer research, but to also share the immense strength that can come from the selflessness of a team. The event gave us the tremendous opportunity to unite with each other and people in the Columbus community to save lives.”
Molly Tavoletti is vice president media chair for CHAARG.