Cancer Survivor

Amy Babst is a cancer survivor and mom who was treated at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center. She shares her story of becoming a mother while fighting cancer.

June 12, 2008. That's the day when, at 23 years old, my life changed forever.

I was 38 weeks pregnant with my daughter Kira when I couldn't catch my breath. The next day at my OB appointment, my doctor listened to my lungs and advised me to go straight to the emergency room. A CT scan showed a mass the size of a large Starbucks coffee on my chest and throughout my lungs. They transferred me to the University of Maryland Medical Center where I was induced and had my daughter.

Those first few days and weeks in June were traumatizing. After going through a gamut of testing, I had a lymph node biopsy and was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin's lymphoma. I could feel the tumors and lumps on both sides of my neck and under my arms. My oncologist Dr. Aaron Rapoport and the medical team at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center gave me six months of chemotherapy and three months of daily radiation.

During cancer treatment, I had good days and bad days. Keeping a positive attitude and mindset, plus having my new baby as a distraction certainly kept me focused on the prize of becoming cancer free and the best mom I could be. After it was all over, within a month I was declared in remission, with no evidence of disease detectable in my body.

Now that it's 14 years later, I can tell you that having cancer changes your life. The experience has changed my mindset when it comes to my kids and work. My family comes first and if an opportunity to take a trip comes up, I'm going. I would rather have these experiences now while I'm young – because we don't know what the future holds.

14 Years After Cancer

Amy and Kira Babst with Dr. Aaron Rapoport at the Maryland Half Marathon in 2010.

This year on June 12, my 14-year "cancerversary," you can bet I'll be somewhere celebrating with an orange crush with my family. It's almost like another birthday for me, an acknowledgement of what my family and I have lived through. I like to look for opportunities to share my experience and raise awareness of cancer and the importance of cancer research so that one day, no one else has to go through this.

Learn more about the annual Maryland Half Marathon & 5K.