By 2008, Snow’s first group of breast cancer Patient Ambassadors had fanned out across the country to share their unique stories of hope and inspiration. As they shared their experiences with a variety of audiences, Ambassadors like Michelle found an unexpected sense of purpose and perspective.

Fifteen years ago, Michelle had reason to celebrate. She co-owned a popular organic hair salon, was the proud mother of two, and had recently married. Two weeks after her wedding, Michelle was in a serious accident that injured her spine, brain, ribs, and right breast. While most of her body healed with treatment and therapy, her breast remained a problem. Though her doctors assured her that nothing was wrong, Michelle eventually went to the emergency room with her concerns. She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of HER2-positive breast cancer.

Once Michelle began treatment and was forced to face her mortality, she decided she wanted to live and was going to do everything she could to fight her cancer. As part of her fight, Michelle learned to love herself and her life. She also embraced her role as an Ambassador.

Today, Michelle can honestly say she is doing well and is grateful for continued health. Their son recently graduated from high school and their daughter got married. She is thriving as a grandparent with three grandchildren. Michelle is still happily married to her husband, Stu, and the two of them have found a new hobby to enjoy together now that they are empty nesters. What started as a day date activity has evolved into the art of collectibles—finding vintage items and giving them new homes. Michelle and Stu love to be rewarded with the feeling of helping people find beloved collectibles.

As an Ambassador, Michelle saw her inspirational story stretch farther than she imagined. Michelle once received a note from someone in the audience who had been diagnosed with cancer but refused treatment—that is, until they heard her story. This is just one of many moments where people approached Michelle to share that her story impacted their lives—all of which have helped her realize what a difference one person can make.

“Being an Ambassador shifted my experience from myself to being there for others. Sharing my story allowed me to see the silver linings, express gratitude, and be open. I went from being in the experience of cancer treatment to harnessing the experience for good.”  –  Michelle