Cancer survivor Amy Barta spent her teenage years battling a severe form of leukemia. From the time she was 13 until she was 21-years-old, Barta underwent multiple rounds of chemotherapy, radiation treatments and brain surgery.
But Barta persevered.
After suffering four relapses, she eventually defeated cancer and graduated with honors from the University of Michigan, earning a bachelor’s degree in communications in April of 2007.
“I choose to have a positive attitude and learn from my experience,” she told the crowd at the 2011 Relay For Life of Greater Rochester's Kick-Off Event on Wednesday at in Rochester.
is a 24-hour event that will take place from 9 a.m. June 25 to 9 a.m. June 26 at . It is the 13th year for the Rochester area's relay; the goal is to attract 47 teams and raise more than $130,000 this year.
Now 27, Barta, of Plymouth, is passionate about cancer awareness and also about writing. Though her eyesight and speech have declined as a result of cancer treatments, she has managed to write several published stories and a quirky list of Top 10 truths about dealing with cancer.
A sample: “There’s no business like chemo business” and “At least you save money on shampoo and conditioner.”
Rochester Hills resident Angie Mills was inspired by Barta’s humor.
Mills lost her husband, Alan, to pancreatic cancer in 2008. Before he died, he worked for the American Cancer Society for more than 20 years. Mills began participating in the Relay For Life with her 11-year-old son, Noah, two years ago.
“The people in Rochester are wonderful," Mills said. "They put so much of their soul into this event to make it meaningful.”
The kick-off evening included a series of celebratory and remembrance speeches and a complimentary dinner donated by various Rochester-area businesses.
For more information about the relay or to register, visit www.relayforlife.org/rochestermi.