Robin Roberts Said This ‘GMA’ Co-Host Sent Her ‘One of the Most Thoughtful E-Mails’ She Ever Received
Robin Roberts of Good Morning America is one of television’s most beloved broadcast journalists. Often sharing personal stories from her own life, Roberts was very open about her second cancer diagnosis in 2012. Manning the news desk with co-hosts George Stephanopoulos, Josh Elliott, Lara Spencer, and Sam Champion at the time, the GMA star described the support she received from her colleagues during her health crisis, with one particular note remaining close to her heart.
Robin Roberts of ‘GMA’ dealt with a second health crisis
Roberts had battled breast cancer in 2007, only to find out five years later that she had myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). The rare blood disorder affects the bone marrow and is sometimes referred to as pre-leukemia.
Considered a type of cancer, MDS causes bone marrow to lose its ability to produce enough mature blood cells, such as white blood cells to fight infection and red blood cells to transport oxygen to different parts of the body.
The GMA star had to prep for a bone marrow transplant from her sister, Sally Ann. Prior to announcing the news on the air, Roberts had to tell her colleagues. After sharing her diagnosis with close pal Champion, she planned to speak with Stephanopoulos, Elliott, and Spencer regarding her road ahead.
Robin Roberts told ‘GMA’ co-host George Stephanopoulos first
Stephanopoulos began co-anchoring GMA alongside Roberts in December 2009. The former political advisor’s more serious demeanor was a perfect balance to Roberts’ bubbly persona. Knowing that he’s more of an introvert, Roberts privately called Stephanopoulos about her health crisis.
“I spoke to George first,” Roberts shared in her book Everybody’s Got Something. “George is a true gentlemen. He reminds me a lot of my father. Reserved, quiet, and devoted to family. Like my dad, George is quick to laugh. He has to be, since he is married to the hilarious, not to mention gorgeous, Ali Wentworth. Since George is somewhat of an introvert, I thought it best to tell him on the phone. I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable with such personal news.”
The GMA star praised Roberts for her grace under pressure and bravery in the face of adversity upon hearing the news.
“‘I’m just in awe of how you’ve handled this,'” Roberts recalled Stephanopoulos telling her. “‘All this time, coming to work, doing your job, never showing a sign that something was wrong. I love you and I know you are going to beat this. You’ll hit it with all the courage and grace you’ve shown your whole life.'”
‘GMA’ star George Stephanopoulos sent Robin Roberts a memorable message
Roberts later described a message she got from Stephanopoulos via email following their discussion.
“A few days later I received an e-mail from George,” Roberts wrote. “He’d had more time to absorb what I told him. It was one of the most thoughtful e-mails I have ever received. He shared scripture with me. That comes easier to him than you may think, because his father is a Greek Orthodox priest and his sister in a nun.”
The compassion Stephanopoulos conveyed in his note to Roberts strengthened their bond as colleagues and friends.
“I felt closer to George than I ever had at that point,” Roberts remarked. “It was at that moment I realized just how much we do have in common.”
Roberts took a leave of absence from GMA in August 2012 to begin intensive treatment for MDS. She returned in February 2013 and celebrated her ‘milestone’ birthday of the 5th anniversary of her bone marrow transplant in 2017. The GMA star continues to shine a light on the importance of breast cancer screening and bone marrow donations.