Jill Emberson leaves behind an immense legacy.
She was a much loved Citizen of the Year who made an enormous contribution to our community and, indeed, our country.
Today we celebrate Jill’s extraordinary life as a journalist, family member, friend, colleague, community leader and tenacious campaigner.
Jill’s life was tragically cut short by ovarian cancer, but she touched the lives of so many people.
She knew her cancer was terminal but never stopped trying to make a difference. As a result, she became an incredibly powerful advocate for ovarian cancer awareness and research.
Jill founded the Pink Meets Teal campaign to build a community of advocates demanding fairer funding for ovarian cancer, so we can push the five-year survival rate of just 46% for ovarian cancer up to the phenomenal 91% survival rate for breast cancer.
I recall vividly the very powerful address that she and Kristen Larson made to Parliamentarians last February, pleading for increased awareness and additional funds for research. That both these amazing women are now dead is both diabolical and a stark reminder of just how appalling the survival rate is for this terrible disease.
Jill’s advocacy in Canberra – at the National Press Club and Parliament House – was truly remarkable, resulting in a one-off boost of $20 million to ovarian cancer research last year.
While Jill welcomed this investment, she wrote to the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, just days before she died, calling for this funding to be increased to $20 million per year. That’s what she knew was needed to save lives and find a cure for ovarian cancer.
Jill was that most precious of persons – a builder of communities. She knew how to find common ground or highlight injustices, how to build alliances and coalitions, how to bring people together to make our world a better place. For that we remain deeply indebted to Jill.
But Jill has challenged us all to do better.
It's now up to all of us to carry forward her work with Pink Meets Teal - ensuring there is equitable funding for all female cancers.
That’s what I joined up to do with Jill and the Pink Meets Teal campaign, and I will continue to pursue this in Canberra.
Let’s learn from the fabulously full-life of Jill Emberson and her seemingly infinite capacity to make us all do better.
My heartfelt condolences go to Jill’s husband Ken and her daughter Malia - thank you for sharing your extraordinary partner and mother with our community.
Vale Jill Emberson.