Family trip puts a positive light on breast cancer

NAPLES, Fla. – After receiving bad news about her health in July, Jil Petrie decided she wanted to focus on a more positive life.

The 42-year-old mother from Illinois was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy. Now, she’s on a mission to enjoy new adventures with her family, uncertain of what the future holds.

“I think they do have some understanding that some of these extra special trips are because we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen in the future,” said Jil Petrie.

This week, Petrie and her family traveled to Florida, making a stop at the Naples Zoo as part of a bucket list.

“The doctors said I have years, not months… but that’s pretty vague.”

Petrie says her diagnosis tells her, she won’t ever really “beat” the disease.

“Just automatically thinking, what are the things that I’m not going to be there for? Like, my daughter’s wedding. you know? Who’s going to plan that for her? Those are the hardest.”

The Petrie family decided it was time to seize the day, and get out of their norm.

“Most of the things on my list are all related to my kids, and just getting to enjoy as many things with them as I can. They’ve never been on a plane, and they’ve never been to the gulf or the ocean, so those were two big things that we decided we’re just gonna go and do it.”

“I’m grateful that I have a great mom that has a great job,” said Devontae Petrie, “who is able to take us up here for a week and just let us do what we want and relax.”

The 19-year-old was adopted by Jil Petrie from a foster home in 2004. He says he always tries to stay positive, and tells his two younger siblings to focus on enjoying the time they have left to spend with their mom, rather than worrying about the future.

“She still has a lot of years in her life, she does, I know she does. I love spending time with her, she’s my number 1, she’s my best friend and I love her. I love her to death,” said Devontae Petrie.

The trip to Southwest Florida is just one of the many plans in store for the Petrie family, who hope to continue their journey with a positive mind, and plenty of new memories to cherish.

“I find myself being more involved with my kids and trying to impart more knowledge and experiences with them now,” Jil Petrie said, “in the hopes that I’ve built strong enough characters that they’re going to be able to push through.”

WINK News is a proud sponsor of two Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks within the next couple of weeks in Southwest Florida. Donate now or register to participate Saturday, Oct. 10 at Miromar Outlets in Estero or Saturday, Oct. 17 at Cambier Park in Naples.

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