Making the days count


Making the days count

Michelle Bowker

What  would you do if you were diagnosed with stage 4 cancer? How would you accept that gut-wrenching information? Take a couple minutes and think about it. Would you live every day to the best of your ability? Would you remain positive knowing death looms over your shoulder? Most people would like to continue to live an upbeat life, but who really knows how they would react unless they are faced with that horrific news.

Jill Costello had to face that question and she chose to live life to its fullest. The 21-year old was diagnosed with stage 4 small cell lung cancer on June 6, 2009. This diagnosis was especially tragic because Jill was a perfectly healthy, non-smoker. She passed away just a year later on June 20, 2010.

Jill is best known for her role as varsity coxswain on the California Golden Bears crew team, for her enthusiastic personality, her fight to live and her compassion for others. Instead of giving up on life, Jill did the exact opposite: she continued to participate with her crew team, while undergoing chemotherapy. During the 2010 season, Jill led the Bears to the Pac-10 Championships and in the last weeks of her life she walked across the stage at graduation (with a 4.0 GPA). She also spearheaded several fundraisers for lung cancer research and was an advocate on finding a cure that would save lives.

It could have been easy for Jill to feel sorry for herself, for her to give up before her final days but instead, she chose to be positive, she chose to be strong and make a difference. She believed she could be the miracle to beat stage 4 lung cancer.

Jill's strong spirit has influenced those around her to live out her legacy, to help others and to continue the search for a cure for cancer. Jill's lifelong friend Kelcey Harrison decided to do just that. She wanted to make an impact on others and to raise money and awareness about the disease.

Kelcey set out a goal to run from New York to her hometown of San Francisco and accomplished that feat on Jill's birthday, December 1, 2012. She logged 30 miles a day, for 4 months straight: 3,500-miles overall. The Great Lung Run raised more than $150,000 for Jill's Legacy, a charity Jill worked with closely before her death. Kelcey wanted to make a personal contribution to the fight for lung cancer and in accomplishing her tenuous 3,500 mile run across the country, she honored her best friend Jill's tremendous fight against cancer.

This is the story about Kelcey Harrison honoring the life of her best friend Jill Costello.

Michelle Bowker is an associate producer for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

Pau Gasol's lofty praise for Warriors: 'In all my years in the league...'

Pau Gasol's lofty praise for Warriors: 'In all my years in the league...'

The Warriors are NBA Finals bound for the third straight year.

Following their Game 4 victory over the Spurs on Monday night, Pau Gasol opened up about the Western Conference champions.

“They’re in a groove,” Gasol told Courtney Cronin of the Bay Area News Group. “They know what it takes to win and obviously they’ve been champions, they’ve established records that have never been set before and they’re on a path to get another championship.

"In all my years in the league, they’re playing at the highest level right now.”

Gasol entered the NBA as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2001 draft.

He won championships with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010.

The Warriors are the first team in NBA history to enter the Finals with a record of 12-0.

Their average margin of victory in the playoffs is 16.3 points.

Giants notes: Blach shows resiliency; another option in center?

Giants notes: Blach shows resiliency; another option in center?

CHICAGO — John Lackey's night started with a leadoff homer. Ty Blach's night started with a 13-pitch battle. Neither one is a positive for a pitcher, but Blach didn't view it that way. He actually appreciated Ben Zobrist stretching him out.

"It's good to have a battle like that and get you locked in," Blach said. "It gets you focused and you'll be like, I can execute and get guys out. It's good. It's a good battle."

There, in a nutshell, is so much of what Bruce Bochy loves about his young left-hander. The Giants have found Blach's arm and resolve to be remarkably resilient. He wasn't bothered when they moved him to the bullpen and he didn't get too high when they moved him back to the rotation. He is the same after seven shutout innings or three poor ones. Bochy smiled when asked about the Zobrist at-bat, which ended in a strikeout looking. 

"How 'bout that?" the manager said. "He won that at-bat. It seems like the advantage goes to the hitter, seeing all those pitches. He kept his focus and got a called strikeout and here he is pitching in the eighth inning."

After needing 13 pitches for one out, Blach got the next 23 on 81 pitches. Bochy thought Blach tired a bit in the eighth, but the deep effort allowed Bochy to mix and match in the bullpen, and ultimately he found the right mix. Hunter Strickland and Mark Melancon closed it out and got Blach his second win.

--- From last night, Joe Panik's huge night helped give Blach an early lead. With the help of Ron Wotus and his shift charts, he also put on a show defensively.

--- We're trying something new right after the final pitch: Here are five quick takeaways from the 6-4 win.

--- The options game sent Kelby Tomlinson back to Triple-A on Wednesday when the Giants activated Melancon, but his latest stint in Sacramento comes with a twist. Tomlinson started his third consecutive game in center field on Monday. The Giants are getting a bit more serious about their longtime plan to make Tomlinson a super-utility player. 

“Tommy is a valuable guy in the majors and if we can give him some experience in the outfield, it gives you more flexibility and versatility,” manager Bruce Bochy said. 

This is not Tomlinson’s first foray into the outfield. He did work there in the offseason after the 2015 season and he has played 25 big league innings in left field the last two seasons. This is Tomlinson’s first real experience with center field, and while in the past he has said that the transition isn’t as easy as some might think, Bochy is confident Tomlinson can figure it out. He certainly has the speed to be a semi-regular in the outfield, and the Giants aren’t exactly brimming with quality center field options behind Denard Span, who is dealing with his second injury of the season. 

“It’s a little different now,” Bochy said when asked about Tomlinson’s past experiences in the outfield. “He’s in Sacramento doing it, and knowing there’s a possibility we could need help in the outfield.”

If the switch doesn’t come in handy this season, it could in 2018. Bochy compared Tomlinson’s infield-outfield ability to Eduardo Nuñez, who has found regular playing time in left but is a free agent after the year. 

--- Hunter Pence did some light running in the outfield before Monday’s game. Bochy said Pence is still about a week away from being an option.

--- Bochy has said it a few times now when asked about the standings, so it’s officially a new motto for a team that got off to a brutal start: “We’ve put ourselves in a great situation for a great story.”

--- They're starting to get a little grumpy around here with their team hovering around .500. Perhaps the Cubs thought they could fool a few on the way out of Wrigley.