Connecticut Relayer Credits ACS with Saving Her Life

Michelle Babyak and husband at Newtown, CT Relay

Newtown, Connecticut’s Michelle Babyak knows full well about the importance of good neighbors and the power of community to help get well after a cancer diagnosis.  After hearing about her breast cancer diagnosis in 2003 she relied on neighbors, family, and friends for everything from doctor referrals to house cleaning.

“I never would’ve made it without them,” she says. Not surprisingly, it was a neighbor who signed Michelle up for her first American Cancer Society Relay For Life eight years ago.  This year she is at the helm, serving as chair of the Relay For Life of Newtown.

What inspires this wife and mother of two is how Relay enhanced the support she already had.  She vividly speaks about her first Relay. “I’ll never forget the lap I walked with my neighbor who also had breast cancer.  After that first round, we were joined by my husband, my kids, and all my neighbors,” she warmly recalls. Now she is working to pass on that same help and hope to others. “Relay is about celebrating, remembering, and fighting back. I’ve served on various committees, and being on that side—it’s a great responsibility, to give others hope,” she says.

Through Relay For Life, Michelle became aware of many programs and free services that were available to her.  When the chemo caused her eyelashes and eyebrows to fall out, she took some Look Good…Feel Better sessions to brighten her face and skin. It was important to show her loved ones that she was going to make it.  Worried about what to do when radiation caused problems with her breast implants, she called the Society’s toll-free number and was helped by a cancer information specialist. And her treatment plan included Herceptin, a drug developed, in part, with the help of a Society grant.  “I think the American Cancer Society – along with my doctors, of course - saved my life,” she says.

Watch Michelle's inspiring video on YouTube.