From Devastation to Transformation: Amy Robach Reflects on Life Before, During and After Breast Cancer

by Mallory Siegfried

While reflecting on a conversation with Captain Chesley Sullenberger and the passengers who were aboard U.S. Airways Flight 1549 – the Airbus A320 they were flying in struck a flock of geese and Sullenberger was forced to ditch the plane in the Hudson River; all 155 people aboard survived – Amy Robach was best able to summarize her keynote speech for the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® 7th Annual Signature Event held on June 13, 2019:

“One of the [Miracle on the Hudson] passengers said to me, ‘At one point in everyone’s life, everyone experiences their plane crash,’” Robach remembered. “It doesn’t have to be cancer. It doesn’t have to be an actual plane crash. At one point in everyone’s life, you reach a point where you realize that life is not guaranteed. That tomorrow is not guaranteed. That today is all we have.”

Inspirational, motivational and transformative, Robach’s keynote at the Musikfest Café at SteelStacks in Bethlehem took the audience of more than 350 on a journey of how to live life, not how to live a long life, and how to live with an attitude of gratitude.

As a breaking news anchor for “Good Morning America,” co-anchor of ABC’s “20/20,” and a reporter across ABC News, Robach has one of the most recognizable names and faces in journalism. In addition to interviewing countless newsmakers and celebrities, Robach has traveled nationally and internationally to cover major news events. She reported on the terrorist attacks in Manchester, UK and in Brussels, Belgium, as well as the mass shootings at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX, Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Sandy Hook elementary school in Newton, Connecticut, and the targeting of police officers in Dallas, TX.

In November 2013, Robach was thrust into the public consciousness for more than her journalism. After receiving a mammogram on live television, Robach revealed on “Good Morning America” that she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

What follows below are lessons and change that Robach learned and implemented during and after what she calls a devastating, transformative and inspirational cancer journey (For the full interview with Robach, visit the News section at

For the real estate professional – or any professional, really – how can your story and your journey not only help them in their personal lives but also in the workplace and within the team and office setting?

  It was my work and my job that got me through treatment because you never realize how much it’s important in your life to have that structure, something to look forward to, something to accomplish. Having my job while I was going through cancer treatment actually ended up being this huge, amazing, safe haven, and oasis, which is not what I would have imagined.

What I realized was that, when you’re going through something scary and frightening, when your security has been taken from you, and you don’t know what is going to happen around the bend, you realize how important it is to have that incredible team around you and to have a place to go to each morning and to find joy in your coworkers and support. It was really a beautiful thing.

Going forward in terms of my career, everything did get put into perspective. When you enjoy your job, it’s such a completion of your life and why you want to get up each morning. However, the other part of it too, and I joke about this, but it’s really true, is one of the biggest changes that I made when I came on the other side of this was that I take all of my vacation days.

I used to brag that I left vacation days on the table, that I’m such a hard worker. I realized at a certain point that it’s great to be a hard worker and I still am, and I love my job, but I also make sure that I have that work-life balance that I really, truly didn’t have before. So, I started by taking all of my vacation days. That made me a much more effective and productive person at work because I feel fulfilled in a way that I wasn’t allowing myself to feel. I’m more rested. I’m more energetic. I’m more excited about rolling up my sleeves and coming up with the next project.

Your career after college has followed quite the trajectory. In today’s climate with women really rising above and striving and thriving and making waves, what advice do you have for women?

The number one thing is we have to start supporting each other; we have to start being able to count on each other and to trust each other… When you can work with other women and truly root each other on and truly be excited about other women’s success, we all have a much better landing pad when things go wrong. I think together we’re stronger.

What I’ve done at work is that I created what I call a “Girl Gang.” When we finish work, we lunch together; we work out together, we shop together. We really have forged these incredible friendships that have made me feel that when I walk into work, I walk into a family. My other family.

We’ve really created a healthy environment… We schedule our days around healthy activities that we do with each other so that it becomes a social and a healthy experience. Not only has it been a physical change, but an emotional and a spiritual change in me, too, because I just feel so supported. I have so much more love in my life than I did before. Everything from head to toe has changed for me in terms of how I feel.


Nearly $10,000 Raised for Local Cancer Support Organizations

The Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® 7th Annual Signature Event included live and silent auctions, in addition to basket raffles, in support of the Cancer Support Community of the Greater Lehigh Valley and the Women’s 5K Classic. Attendees had the opportunity to bid on unique items that included a football, mini helmet, jersey and poster autographed by the Lehigh Valley’s very own Saquon Barkley, a round of golf for three at Lehigh Country Club, a package for The Spa at The Hotel Hershey, and much, much more.

In total, $9,358 was raised. The money will be split between the above-mentioned organizations.

The mission of the Cancer Support Community is to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community. The organization, which relies completely on donations, has helped people affected by cancer actively engage in their health care, connect with others, reduce stress and isolation, and restore hope for a better quality of life. There are support groups, educational workshops, wig salon events, healthy cooking classes, exercise classes that include T’ai Chi, yoga and karate, and so much more. And it’s all free to those affected by cancer.

Since 1993, the Women’s 5K Classic has raised funds to support Greater Lehigh Valley organizations that share its mission of promoting fitness among women of all ages, assisting women and families affected by breast and other female cancers, and educating women about breast cancer awareness, prevention, and treatment.

When the race first began, about 250 women participated and raised $2,500, which was donated to Lehigh Valley Hospital. Since that time, the race has grown to nearly 5,000 participants annually and includes a competitive walk, a 5K run, a Pink Ribbon Loop, and a Friday Night Health Expo.

Since the very first dollar was raised, more than $3 million has been invested in the Lehigh Valley community. The Women’s 5K Classic, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that takes over the Little Lehigh Parkway in Allentown every October has touched the lives of over 13,000 women and their families.

The Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® thanks the individuals who participated in the fundraising efforts and is honored to help the above organizations and their causes. As the association’s CEO, Justin Porembo, always says, “REALTORS® are not just here for the transaction. We’re here to help build the community.”

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