Magazine Feature / People

Alumna honors late friend with breast cancer charity

Stephanie Cegielski

Stephanie Cegielski with her children Mason, left, and Madelin

Stephanie Cegielski (JD ’06) is waging a very personal war against breast cancer.

When her close friend Jill Lamb succumbed to the disease in February 2008, Cegielski started the Jill Lamb Foundation, a Highlands Ranch, Colo., based nonprofit that helps families going through cancer treatment. The idea was born a few months before Lamb’s death, when a group of her friends got together to raise money for Lamb’s family.

“We reached out to everyone we knew, and it was amazing to me how people that didn’t even know her were willing to give to the family during that time,” Cegielski says. “I had this thought that I would like to create an organization that helped families who were going through cancer treatment. People’s willingness to give was so moving to me.”

After talking with Lamb’s husband, Cegielski decided on a unique mission for her nonprofit: helping families undergoing treatment by assisting with household chores such as cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping.

“When I talked to Jill’s husband, I did talk to him about their experience. And he said the thing that helped them the most was the little things. It was the arrangements to have someone come in and clean their house every other week, and what a huge burden that was to be lifted from them,” she says. “In trying to deal with chemo treatments or other doctors’ visits, to not have to worry about the little things made life a lot easier for them.”

The Jill Lamb Foundation’s dozen or so volunteers provide services themselves or arrange for professional services, like housecleaning. They also are a presence at awareness and fundraising events for breast cancer. Cegielski, who also works with Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Love/Avon Army of Women project, says she does whatever she can to help in the fight against a disease that also affects her stepmother and a handful of her college friends.

“I think it’s very important,” says Cegielski, who has a day job working for the Colorado secretary of state. “Everybody can name somebody they know either firsthand or secondhand who has suffered from breast cancer. I have a daughter who’s almost 10, and my goal is that someday she can wear a pink ribbon to celebrate the victory over breast cancer instead of wearing a pink ribbon to celebrate the fight against breast cancer.”

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