Gail Santilli-Gruver Remembrance

A couple years ago KNAU ran a series called “Surviving Cancer.” Gail Santilli-Gruver shared with us her insights dealing with metastatic breast cancer in a radio diary. Gail died last week in Flagstaff. She was 56.

Gail was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. Then after several treatments doctors told her it had spread to her liver, lungs and bones. It wasn’t curable but it was manageable.

She shared with us her reaction to the initial diagnosis, what it was like to live with a changed quality of life, going in for treatment after treatment.

Gail also talked about her obsession with obituaries.

“I’m probably going to write my obituary so I don’t have to have other people say things I don’t want them to say,” Gail said. “I’m really torn about the whole ‘courageous battle with cancer’ thing. I don’t begrudge anybody else however they want to put it. I want to look at it as I went down fighting. I want to go down living. I want every day to be like today. It’s a beautiful morning and I can hear the birds and see the trees. I think that’s what I want it to say.”

She was a social worker, child advocate and therapist, community organizer, friend, mother of two daughters, wife and so much more.

A celebration of Gail’s life was held Friday, December 9, at 4 the Federated Community Church in Flagstaff.