LI woman with MD makes seat-belt covers for cancer survivors

Source: Newsday / Joie Tyrrell

Seaford resident Chelsea Marks got the idea for a padded seat-belt cover to ease the post-surgical discomfort of breast cancer survivors when she herself was hospitalized, under treatment for an infection related to her muscular dystrophy.

It was April, and Marks, 22, had three visitors in her room at Stony Brook Hospital — her mother, Linda Marks, and two of her mother’s friends. All three older women had undergone reconstructive surgery after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

The women’s talk that afternoon turned to their difficulties with travel and the discomfort and pain caused by the pressure of seat belts crossing their chests.

Chelsea Marks, who was diagnosed with a rare form of muscular dystrophy more than seven years ago, well knows the challenges of living with the effects of disease and medical procedures. Plus, she has watched her mother, now 50, come back from surgery six years ago.

The conversation was the inspiration for the padded covers that Marks dubbed “Belt Buddies.”

Linda Marks recalled the setting and the subject. She and her friends, she said, “all were patients of New York Breast Reconstruction Associates and part of their Sisterhood of Support group. And we were all sitting there — three survivors and Chelsea in the hospital bed — and we started reminiscing about the car ride home. And this is how the idea was born.”

Now, about twice a month, Marks gathers with friends and family — including her brother Corey, 15 — around the dining room table.

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