make the most of it
Jill Marie's Journey
Not Today (Jill's Song) is a new song that chronicles Jill's battle from the summer of 2015 until the day she stopped treatment in June of 2016
On July 8, 2014, Jill Marie Casey, who was 45 years old, was diagnosed with stage 4 cervical cancer.
Her husband John Joseph had been active duty Army for 22 years and the family was living in Ramstein, Germany where they had resided for 2 years. They had lived overseas for the last 19 years as a typical military family; long deployments and multiple moves.
Their son, John Robert was a sophomore at Ramstein Airbase High School and their daughter, Jamisen Margaret was in the 7th grade at Ramstein Junior High School.
Jill Marie was adamant that disruptions to her family’s lives would be kept to a minimum during her fight. Cancer was not going to undermine what the Casey’s had worked so hard to achieve. In addition, all were confident that the cancer would be beaten with one round of treatment.
Jill Marie, along with her brother temporarily relocated from Germany to Bethesda, Maryland to complete a 16 week treatment regimen at Walter Reed Medical Center (WRMC). Her treatment included robotic surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
90 days after her initial treatment, Jill’s first set of follow-up scans were alarmingly bad and she realized that she was in the fight of her life.
Jill Marie located to Fisher House #4 on WRMC to fight the cancer full-time while leaving her family in Germany. The Fisher Houses are a place for patients and family members to stay at no cost while receiving treatment on base. Each of the five homes on WRMC offer 16 hotel style rooms with private bathrooms along with living and dining areas, a community kitchen and a laundry facility.
Jill’s team developed an aggressive plan which included brachytherapy, bi-weekly chemotherapy and daily radiation. Initial results were positive and there was optimism that Jill would be able to manage the disease. However, after short term success, the cancer fought back.
In the midst of this journey, Jill and her family were able to visit the University of Pennsylvania for their son John Robert. This school was high on his list and the visit was an important one for the Caseys. (John Robert has gone on to be a Presidential Scholar and just completed his sophomore year at the University of Pennsylvania; Wharton School of Business. He is on the Student Council, has been published twice and is a Cadet in the United States Army ROTC program).
Other than the cancer, Jill Marie was extremely healthy and a very unique patient. She tirelessly worked out, marketed herself, and earned the opportunity to be a part of two pre FDA immune therapy trials that were held in conjunction with the National Institute of Health (NIH). Confidence was high because of initial success. However, the tides again turned.
Jill’s final stand included partial redaction of both lungs and the removal of a large portion of her spine to gain clear margins for another aggressive round of platinum chemotherapy,
In June of 2016, Jill Marie made the difficult decision to stop treatment. She relocated to Hendersonville, Tennessee to be with her parents. Her family flew in from Germany and the Casey’s had a meaningful summer.
During this time, the Casey family was able to visit high schools in the area for Jamisen Margaret as the Casey’s had decided to relocate to Tennessee after husband John retired from the Army.
Near the end of the summer, Jill had a frank discussion with her family and sent them home to Germany to start school and a new life.
After the school year, the Casey's moved to Tennessee in August of 2017.
Jamisen is a wonderful young woman who completed her freshman and sophomore year at Pope John Paul High School in Hendersonville, Tennessee. She excelled at academics, swim and theater.
In August of 2019, Jamisen and her dad moved back to Germany. She is a junior at Ramstein Air Force Base High School and is the captain of her swim team.
Jill Marie passed to Heaven on September 7, 2016. Her fight lasted 792 days.