Rebecca Roach’s inner beauty was always apparent to those who loved her.

But her outer beauty started to become a larger part of her life only when she tried to use it to help others.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, Roach agreed to appear in newspaper ads and TV commercials for the Maine Medical Center Cancer Institute. Her image in the spots was so stunning, it led to offers of modeling jobs and TV auditions.

The work was a welcome distraction to Roach as she battled cancer.

“She became very busy. She did one shoot for a camera lens company and another for a knitting catalog,” said her companion of seven years, Blaine Barbera of Scarborough. “Becky was very humble, she had kind of wanted to do modeling before, but just never did.”

Roach, who lived in Windham and in Scarborough, died Monday. She was 37.

In one of her print ads for Maine Medical Center, Roach can be seen gazing off into the distance, with a look of quiet confidence on her face, under the line: “Our patients have more than just cancer. They have courage.”

The ad mentions Roach by name, and talks about her “keen eye” for finding antiques.

Barbera said Roach auditioned for a TV show in Boston after casting directors said they were looking for someone with a “Halle Berry look.” She did one of her photo shoots just a few days after an operation.

Though Roach welcomed the chance to do something different while battling illness and undergoing treatments, it was difficult for her because of her physical condition.

“You can’t imagine what that poor girl went through,” said Barbera. “She didn’t have one moment’s rest in two years.”

Roach worked for Creative Office Pavilion in Portland, where she helped hospitals and medical offices select furnishings. Mercy Hospital in Portland had been one of her clients, and it ended up being the place where she got much of her treatment, Barbera said.

Roach loved going to estate sales and scouring antique shops, and her house was full of her finds. She also had a flair for design, and made some of her own furniture.

“She had a real good eye for design, and layout and color,” said Barbera. “She made some ottomans and chairs and was hoping to have a line (of furniture) picked up by someone.”

 

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: [email protected]