In Memory of Jill Conley

It is with heavy hearts that we announce our dear friend Jill Conley has passed away. She was truly a beautiful soul, and was a shining example of the powers of love and positivity. Her bravery in her battle with cancer continues to inspire us, and we know that heaven has gained an incredible angel.

Jills WIsh Logo

“Jill was a bright light that sparkled in our office the day she came to visit. She knew nothing of The Life Chest prior to arriving but she walked through our doors with an open heart. Three hours later we had become something reminiscent of long-time friends, laughing and carrying on, sharing anecdotes and brainstorming dreams for the future. She was committed in seeing our dreams becoming a reality and we hers. I am so honored to have known her, and have no doubt that her dreams will live on through her legacy.”

– Julie Donegan


From the Jill’s Wish Facebook page:

“With great sadness we share the news that our loving, supportive, tireless, feisty and determined founder Jill Brzezinski-Conley – Breast Friends passed on this morning peacefully with family by her side. Many of you know how much it meant to Jill to embrace her terminal illness and turn it into a passion for helping people all over the world either with her message of body positivity or her foundation, Jill’s Wish. She always said the uplifting messages and words of encouragement she got through social media, email and regular mail were her chemo; they help keep her fire burning. And she was resolute to change just one woman’s life before departing this earth. We believe she surpassed her own expectations by helping millions, and we will continue to honor and cherish her legacy by continuing her mission.

Her mother Rosemary posted this earlier today:

“It is with deepest grief and sadness to post that Jill Brzezinski-Conley passed away peacefully this morning with her loving husband Bart Conley by her side. Over the last 6 1/2 yrs she has handled her illness with grace, determination, humor and generosity. Our Jillybean will be greatly missed by family and friends as she has touched countless lives. Everyone has been in awe of her beauty both inside and out. As her mother she was my best friend, confidante and love of my life. Her light will continue to shine. A celebration of her amazing journey will be held in Louisville and MI where Jill was born and raised. Arrangements will be posted when finalized.”

Jill Conley

We have details below for the Life Celebration of Jill Conley, if you can and would like to join us. And by request of the family, in lieu of flowers, please kindly consider donating to Jill’s legacy and inspiration through www.JillsWish.org

Fri., Feb 5, 2016 from 2-8:00 p.m.
Ratterman’s Funeral Home
3800 Bardstown Rd.
Louisville, KY 40218

Funeral Service:
Sat., Feb 6,2016 at 1:30 p.m.
St. Patrick Church of Louisville
1000 N. Beckley Station Rd.
Louisville, KY 40245

Jill is eternally a Life Chest Lifer and our friend.

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.


And three articles you should read now 

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But what does that mean? To some, it’s a day off. To others, it’s more: remembering a man with a dream.

It’s never easy to go against the grain. It’s even harder to challenge the thinking of society. Luckily, Martin Luther King Jr. had the heart, bravery, and fortitude to peacefully forge ahead. His leadership in the Civil Rights Movement in both his words and deeds stand as a testament to his memory, made just as important in our current times.

We ask today that you please read the below thought-provoking articles on Dr. King and the legacy he left behind. Think about what you can do in your own life to live his dream.

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.


An interesting behind-the-scenes look at his infamous speech:


Ways to actively honor his work today:


Dr. King’s greatest speeches that you’ve never heard:



Legacy Monday: Linda Solomon


Our CEO Donna Yost and office manager Kelsi Parenteau had the honor of going to the Distinguished Women Gala. At the gala, they met Linda Solomon, a famous photographer who inspired them immensely.

Linda Solomon a nationally recognized, award winning photojournalist and member of the exclusive and prestigious Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame, has divided her career between capturing the most famous personalities of our time and teaching others to express themselves through photography.

Solomon is not only a photographer but is also a New York Times best-selling author, public speaker and has been covering the Oscars for 29 years with her photography. Solomon is also very charitable. Her organization “Pictures of Hope” includes her going to homeless shelters teaching kids about photography. Linda presents a photo tutorial to the children at each shelter. At the conclusion of the tutorial, the children are surprised with digital cameras donated by Walgreens and given their first photo assignment as young photojournalists. Each child has a Picture of Hope card showcasing one of their photographs. All the children in each city celebrate with their mentors at the “Meet The Young Artist” receptions when the Pictures of Hope cards are launched. It’s a special day no one will ever forget.

Linda Solomon is someone that inspires us here at The Life Chest. Her work through her photography and charitable organization illustrates her desire to help and change the world through her love of photography.

Legacy Monday: Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai

Unlike most eighteen-year-olds, Malala Yousafzai still has two more years of schooling to complete before heading to college. But then again, Yousafzai has always stood out from her contemporaries. Her activism began at age eleven, when she wrote a blog for the BBC on the tribulations of being a young girl wanting an education in northern Pakistan. After being almost fatally shot by the Taliban while on her way home from school in 2012, Yousafzai was catapulted to global fame and became a leading advocate for human rights and girls’ education around the world.

In 2013, her sixteenth birthday was spent giving a rousing speech at the United Nations—her first public speech since the attack—and from then, July 12 was officially declared Malala Day. A few months later, her memoir, I Am Malala, would go on to become an international best seller. In 2014, at the age of seventeen, she would become the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

Having achieved so much at such a young age might have anyone else resting on their laurels, but of course, this birthday marks only the beginning of a new phase in Yousafzai’s life. She already has her eye on Oxford University for her continued education, and she has no plans of stopping her activism, either. At a speech at the Oslo Summit on Education for Development a few days before her eighteenth birthday, Malala spoke about what it means for her to become an adult. “There is something that I have learnt from being a child that I will not leave behind and I will take on into this new life of adulthood. And that is to dream: In fact, to dream big, to aim higher, without limit.”

Malala Yousafzai inspires us at The Life Chest to persevere and work hard to follow our dreams. She teaches us to not let anything stop us or come in our way from accomplishing our dreams and hopes for ourselves. Malala’s story is a great reminder of never giving up and having the sky as your limit for your dreams.

Legacy Monday: Angelina Jolie

On this Legacy Monday, The Life Chest would like to recognize actress Angelina Jolie. Angelina Jolie is an amazing figure in today’s society. She not only is a successful actress, but she also proves to be a humanitarian by visiting countries and people in need and continues to raise awareness for important causes and charities.

Angelina Jolie started her acting career when she was just sixteen years old. She has stared in many movies such as Salt, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Girl, Interrupted. She won an Academy Award for playing best actress in a supporting role for Girl, Interrupted in 2000.

In 2001, when Jolie was filming a movie in Cambodia, she became aware of the suffering people in the war-ravaged country. “My eyes started to open”, she would later say, the experience causing her to begin her work as a humanitarian.

In the years since, her work on behalf of the homeless and dispossessed has taken her to more than 30 countries — including a few war zones — and to Washington, D.C., where she has pushed for legislation to assist refugees in troubled regions around the world.

Angelina Jolie continues to be an inspiration with her continued efforts to help those in need. Jolie’s journey as a humanitarian and visiting countries in need has been made personal. Jolie has adopted three kids during her trips to countries in need. Angelina Jolie and her husband Brad Pitt have six children. In 2006, when the couple’s twins, Knox and Vivienne, were born the couple sold the first images of the babies to the press for $14 million, using the entire amount to help fund the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation.

Angelina Jolie is an extraordinary example of a strong women and someone who is selfless and fights for what they believe in. She inspires us at The Life Chest to do the same, helping causes and people we believe in. It is important that the world has helpers such as Jolie to spread awareness to countries and people in need.

Book Review: Shark Tales

Shark Tales by Barbara Corcoran

Reading is great especially when you’re lounging and tanning outside now that it is summer! A great book that we have all read here at The Life Chest, is the novel “Shark Tales” by Barbra Corcoran. Barbara Corcoran’s inspirational novel “Shark Tales” tells the story about how she got to be such a successful businesswoman with very little experience and knowledge about business and the real estate market.

In the novel she humorously tells her readers about how she got straight D’s on her report cards all throughout high school and how she was randomly introduced to the world of real estate with no experience. Barbara explains and justifies each of her business decisions with relating them to the life lessons her mother taught her during her upbringing.The novel is filled with advice and stories of business that Corcoran has picked up along the way of her real estate business. The book is a great book filled with humor and wit that illustrate creative and brilliant ways to guide you through whatever your career is!

Legacy Monday: Ellen DeGeneres

Here at the life chest, one of our favorite shows to watch and laugh hysterically with is The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The world is constantly filled with such negativity and despairing news. It’s always the best to turn on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and escape from such things with her humor. She is always reminding viewers to not take life too seriously and to be kind to others.

One of Ellen’s beliefs is “Be nice to everyone, even though you don’t want to and you may not like certain people. Be kind, friendly, and respectful even if people are not nice to you. That way, you’re not dragged down to their level. Also, there’s nothing that annoys arrogant jerks more than people being nice to them”. We love the positivity Ellen brings to our lives! Ellen is not only a comedian but she is also and avid humanitarian.

She is a huge supporter to numerous charities and foundations including; The Gentle Barn, Clothes Off Our Backs, The Humane Society, Stand Up to Cancer, ONE Foundation, Save the Music, Feeding America, Children’s Health Fund, and countless others. Ellen uses her show to help raise money for certain organizations, like the celebrity dunk tank, which helps benefit research for breast cancer. Her show also includes segments which help out her viewers who are suffering due to economic and other crises. Ellen’s Big Stimulus Package and Cash Clunker are popular ones.

Ellen is an inspiration to us at The Life Chest to be kind and generous to one another and to support organizations and causes that we believe in!

Jessica Alba: From Actress To CEO

Jessica Alba

On this Legacy Monday, everyone at the Life Chest is thoroughly inspired by the ever so fabulous Jessica Alba!

When we look at Jessica Alba we see an elegant, style-infused beautiful face, maybe? Jessica Alba is mostly known for her countless roles in hilarious romantic comedy films such as Good Luck Chuck and Valentine’s Day. She also has graced numerous magazine including Rolling Stone, Elle, and Harpers Bazaar. Jessica Alba also became known for her effortless style, which has a sense of bohemian chic to it.

Jessica’s career slowed down when she had her two daughters, Honor and Haven. As a mom you want nothing but the most healthy and safe environment for your kids. Which includes obsessing over any and all products consumed and used with taking care of your children. Jessica Alba is known for being eco-friendly and found it hard to find products that met those standards. She was inspired by her frustration. Jessica developed an idea to open up her own company that catered to moms who had similar needs of such products. The business would serve to provide products to all parents who wanted to use safe products within their household. Jessica Alba founded the company in 2011, and named it The Honest Company. The company emphasizes non-toxic household products to supply the marketplace for ethical consumerism. The company is an alternative to the prevalent baby products with alleged toxins. In 2013, The Honest Company’s sales were at $50 million. Just 2 years later, the company is currently valued at $1 billion. Of her success Jessica is noted as saying, “This was a risk, starting this company, it was something that I didn’t think I’d ever do and I still can’t believe I’m here, and it happened, and this is real.”

And what it great risk it was! On this legacy Monday, Jessica inspires us at the Life Chest to continue being business savvy women who have great ideas and work hard in order to put them to light!

Kid Rock : Why We Love The “American Bad Ass”

Kid Rock

Kid Rock was born Robert James Ritchie on January 17, 1971 in Romeo, Michigan, a small rural town north of Detroit where his father owned a Lincoln-Mercury dealership.Raised on classic rock & roll albums but equally interested in hip hop Kid Rock has created his own genre of music after years of playing and DJ’ing at clubs and parties throughout the Detroit area.

Kid Rock has had a long winding music career with several albums leading to the launch of his stardom with his Devil without a Cause in 1999. Since then he has shown great versatility collaborating with musicians like Slash, Lil Wayne and Sheryl Crow, his music is ever changing and his following is always growing.

The legacy Kid Rock leaves behind will not only be through his music career, his generosity and modesty are the best reflections on who he is deep down, a caring soul and an active philanthropist both in his home of Michigan and with the military.

Charitable Causes

The Kid Rock Foundation donated $250,000 to the Detroit Historical Society to establish the Kid Rock Music Lab, an interactive gallery that covers more than 100 years of Detroit’s musical history.

At Christmas and Thanksgiving he hands out gift cards for groceries throughout Detroit to help people in need.

Through his tours , working with a group of local Detroit business’s, he is able to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities and provides resources to other non-profit organizations across Michigan through the Kid Rock Foundation.

Kid Rock is a supporter of the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, Youthville Detroit, Friends of Belle Isle, Made in Detroit Endowed Scholarship and The Rainbow Connection, among many other charities.

His generosity has no boundaries, in one story Kid Rock joined together with Operation FINALLY HOME, a non-profit charity that builds homes for American soldiers wounded at war to give Sgt. Davin Dumar and his wife, Dana, and incredible surprise – a new home. The generous donation was through a project by the non-profit Operation FINALLY HOME. Dan Wallrath, the companies founder (who was named as one of CNN’s Heroes in 2010) met Kid Rock at an event when the singer suggested building homes for injured troops in Michigan.

Kid Rock and Sgt. Davin Dumar with his new home

Kid Rock and Sgt. Davin Dumar with his new home


Kid Rock is heavily involved with Operation Troop Aid (OTA) which is a nonprofit organizations supporting U.S. Troops. Kid Rock was presented with the 2014 Operation Troop Aid “Patriot Award” and Eagle Trophy for his charitable donations to numerous military charities and for his hard work to support troops overseas and in local hospitals.

"Kid Rock is one of the most giving entertainers I have ever met," says OTA founder and executive director Mark Woods. "He really gets it... Last year, Kid Rock challenged his fans to help raise money to send care packages to the troops. In one short month, we were able to ship over 500 care packages just in time for the holidays. His art, legacy of family and Spirit of Patriotism is exactly why this award exists."

Kid Rock has performed at various military bases and makes a huge effort to meet military personnel at every concert appearance.

Kid Rock with USO

A talented individual with a huge heart, Kid Rock is an incredible example of commitment, good will and appreciation.

George Washington, Legacy in a Love Letter from 1775

George and Martha Washington

George and Martha Washington

“I retain an unalterable affection for you, which neither time nor distance can change.”

These words come not from Pride and Prejudice or Shakespeare, they come from the heart and hand of President George Washington, written with care to his wife Martha.

Showing another side to the first President,  this letter, one of only 5 surviving, from the President to his wife,  is truly unique and ever so charming.

Its unfortunate but Martha Washington destroyed 40 years of her correspondence with her husband when he died in 1799. She chose to keep these letters and intimate conversations private, to many historians dismay.

By chance she overlooked five pieces of correspondence between the two of them: two personal letters were found behind a drawer on her desk; one letter was never received; and two short notes from Martha to George, written as additions to letters which were sent from other members of the family.

Of these remaining letters, one written during the Revolutionary War, although brief, is absolutely enchanting. This short letter gives a glimpse at what an eloquent writer, husband and family man George Washington was  as he mentions Martha’s son Jack and his wife Nelly, and signs “Your Entire, George Washington” which is not only romantic but shows vulnerability and commitment to his wife.

Phila. June 23d 1775.

My dearest,

As I am within a few Minutes of leaving this City, I could not think of departing from it without dropping you a line; especially as I do not know whether it may be in my power to write again till I get to the Camp at Boston—I go fully trusting in that Providence, which has been more bountiful to me than I deserve, & in full confidence of a happy meeting with you sometime in the Fall—I have not time to add more, as I am surrounded with Company to take leave of me—I retain an unalterable affection for you, which neither time or distance can change, my best love to Jack & Nelly, & regard for the rest of the Family concludes me with the utmost truth & sincerity.

Your entire,

Go. Washington

This surviving love letter from the President has become a part of his legacy, it’s hard to believe that these words were written in 1775 and are still preserved today.

Preserving tender moments like these are not only for Presidents, the emotions that come from personal letters can be revisited for years to come and should be cherished and passed down through generations so that a persons true character and legacy can be remembered.

A love letter from George Washington to wife Martha