BETTY JO BABIC
Betty Jo Babic has spent a good part of her adult life volunteering in various ways to make other peoples’ lives better. A breast cancer survivor, she is a lady of extraordinary integrity who freely shares her talents and abilities with others with no regard for personal gain or recognition.
After the death of a friend from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Betty Jo Babic personally organized an ALS Support Group in Ormond Beach (now recognized by the ALS Association – Florida Chapter). It is the only ALS support group in Volusia County. She has given unselfishly of her time and personal financial resources to ensure that the group has a place to meet and whatever else is needed for its continued growth and service to those suffering from this disease and to their families and caregivers. Instead of battling this disease virtually alone, victims of ALS and their caregivers (from 25-30 people per meeting at present) now have a source of comfort and support, the latest information available about ALS and access to an Equipment Loan Closet from which they can borrow a variety of items, such a motorized wheelchair, to make their lives easier.
ALS is not a well-know disease; there is no cure and victims often do not live long after being diagnosed. Prior to the formation of the Ormond Beach ALS Support Group there was no way for victims of the disease and their caregivers to interact so as to discover new and better ways of coping. Betty Jo Babic saw a need and responded to it by forming the support group. She made all the arrangement for the ALS support group, including finding a place to meet once a month, advertising the formation of the group in various media, acting as moderator of the group at each meeting, contacting the ALS Association – Florida Chapter, working tirelessly to accomplish her goal.
She continues to serve as a moderator of the group’s meetings, keeping records of attendees, minutes of the group’s meetings, attending meetings here and elsewhere involving the ALS Association – Florida Chapter, has attended two seminars – one in Ft. Myers and one in Orlando, participates in a telecon once a month, is available by phone to current members of the group as well as to anyone who might be interested in joining.
Babic has accumulated more than 10,000 service hours as a Pink Lady Volunteer at Ormond Memorial Hospital and has served as President of the Auxiliary and Chairman of the Surgical Waiting Desk. Some years ago she helped form the Cystic Fibrosis Support Group in Volusia County. As a Charter member of the Pilot Club of the Halifax Area, she has worked on health issues involving children, such as distributing helmets and helmet labels to Volusia County children. These labels are placed inside bicycle helmets with vital information about the child in case there is an accident and the child is unable to speak to rescue workers. She also is active in presenting to kindergarten and first graders a signature program of Pilot International entitled Brainminders, designed to teach young children to protect their brains.
Betty Jo Babic is an outstanding example of what one dedicated, energetic person can do. She turned her grief at her friend’s death into a living memorial of service to others.