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Robin Roberts- The Resilient Fighter


GMA (Good morning America) first debuted back in the 1970s. Ever since then, it has been in vogue amongst millennials and even the current generation. The co-host Robin Roberts, with her charismatic persona has enthralled millions across the globe.

However, Robin’s life has been a rollercoaster ride with seismic changes. Did you know that she has battled cancer, not once but twice?

As she once said- "My beloved mother always said- make your mess your message. She helped show me that others are going to benefit from my story and that the pain and discomfort I was going to go through would be minimal compared with the benefit I could bring to other people.”

It was her mother’s insistence on this greater virtue that helped propel Robin towards sharing her story. Since then it has become an inspiration to many. So let's delve into the depths of her journey- from her first diagnosis to cancer recurrence.

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It was back in 2007 that Robin decided to get tested when she found an unusual lump. It was this decision that changed the course of her life forever. She was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.

It was not a cakewalk. She was met with the overwhelming task of unveiling the news to her loved ones. As devastating as it was to them, they never ceased to show love and affection to her. She wholeheartedly admits that it was them who pulled her through this phase.

Robin soon faced surgery, eight rounds of chemotherapy, and six and a half weeks of radiation therapy.

“What was toughest for me,” she says, describing the impact of the treatment, “was losing myself: I just wasn’t present.”


Despite the frustrations that she encountered on a personal level, her time at work allowed her to maintain a sense of normalcy during a time that was anything but normal. When she lost all her hair due to chemotherapy, she said it was work which put her back together again. She remains grateful for the two hours she got on set when she got to look ‘normal’; when she could look into the mirror and say “Hey, I remember you.”

It was in the spring of 2008 that she decided to stop wearing her wig. She knew it’s hard to blend in when you’re bald when people give you the little tilt of the head, the silent consolation. But, she didn’t want to be treated like a cancer victim. She wanted to be the woman who moved beyond the superficial to celebrate the soul within.


As she entered survivorship, she was determined to make a change in the world. She became a vocal proponent for regular breast self-exams, which is how 40% of all breast cancer cases are detected.

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The next incident that changed the trajectory of her life came in 2012. Robin was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer, MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome). More unsettling was when it was revealed that her MDS was a result of past chemotherapy, that was taken for her breast cancer. The treatment that had saved her, had now put her in peril.


As she looks back now at this unfortunate event, she says, “I’m cautious about discussing that, because I’d never want anybody to avoid treatment for fear it could lead to something else. You have to fight the battle that’s in front of you.”


As optimistic as she was, she continued working for GMA. However, her health started deteriorating quickly. She lost a lot of weight, in a very short time. However, she tried her best to remain positive and look at the brighter side. She would take out time to meditate and live for herself. She knew MDS could be fatal and she wanted to live life to the fullest.

She was surrounded by affection, hope and a lot of love from everyone around her. Recalling one of these instances she says: “One of my dear friends, may he rest in peace, John Saunders, showed up one day at “Good Morning America” with some lemon drops for me. He just stopped by my dressing room, handed them to me, hugged me and walked out. People often ask somebody who’s going through it, “What do you need? What can we do?” We don’t know! Just do something, be there. It’ll be fine; we’ll be appreciative.”

There were nights she would go to bed and just break down. But her inner strength and willpower kept her going. She believes that when fear knocks on your door, let faith answer the door. “Have faith that if you’re diagnosed with cancer or if someone you love is diagnosed, there are oncology nurses, doctors, clergy and a battalion of other people who will be there and want to help you get through it.”, she says.

Her message of self-examination for cancer has motivated many to get themselves tested. Although the results were not always favourable, they have been forever grateful to Robin for her service. There’s not a day that goes by when people don’t mention how her story has helped them.


Robin later was awarded the Peabody Award, one of the most prestigious in the industry. They gave it for her journey, saying that, as a network and as a program, they had used the opportunity to be of service. This uplifted Robin more than she ever thought it could.

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Her story is truly an inspiration to millions across the globe. Self-examination for cancer remains a critical method of detection and we must advocate for it. Let us stay aware, vigilant and conscious of changes in our bodies. And as Robin says, “Life is not so much what you accomplish as what you overcome.”



 

Sources:

https://news.cancerconnect.com/survivorship/robin-roberts-abundantly-blessed

https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=159195


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