What does it mean to live in the spotlight, witness history first hand, and battle cancer at the same time?
In Robin Roberts’ memoir, Everybody’s Got Something, the vividly written account of her battle with MDS is overshadowed by the positivity constantly weaved into her account. There is not a moment that goes by that Roberts offers a negative view on life, rather she accounts for the brief moments of negativity and counters them with her optimism. One of the best examples of her optimism reads, “You’ll never score, literally or metaphorically, if you’re mentally making your to-do list while you’re supposed to be lining up to take a shot.” This small passage encompasses the upbeat mentality Roberts encompasses, a mentality that does not allow the thought of “not trying” to be an option for her.
Most enjoyable about her memoir is that she does not strictly talk about her problems. She talks about her mother’s death, and the health struggles of several acquaintances. She talks about a man named Janne Kouri, who was paralyzed from the neck down. She talks about how his rehabilitation helped her be a stronger person. In mentioning stories like these, Roberts reinforces the idea that one shouldn’t have to be alone and scared. In fact, drawing from the experiences of other people should inspire life even when times are troubled. Not only that, but she manages to weave in her idea that “Everybody’s Got Something.”
Though Roberts’ life and career are nothing but normal, she brings normalcy to her life by recognizing that the blessings she has are life changing. On the day she was diagnosed with MDS she was called to interview President Obama. She said yes to the interview and explains her experience as “historic, and [her] interview made headlines all around the world.” This small passage demonstrates a global effect on her decision; having the strength to say that this interview would engage people all over the world in a dialogue (about gay rights), and not focusing solely on her MDS, brings Roberts to life. She acknowledges that it was an interview of a lifetime. Robert’s argues that by saying yes to any day life activity or an interview with a president, is half the battle. It’s a sublime way of beginning to fight the great fight.
Most notable, is that Roberts includes pictures from all aspects of her life. Everything from her childhood to her recovery from her Bone Marrow transplant. Each picture is honest and brave as it encompasses the idea that Roberts was not at all ashamed of what happened to her—instead, she literally and figuratively wears her scar proud. She includes pictures of her without make-up, sitting on a wheelchair cooking in hopes of recovery and having a smile on her face when amongst her loved ones.
To rephrase the question, what does it mean to live and make history, and fight cancer?
It means that life begins everyday, when you want it to.
Born on November 23, 1960, in Tuskegee, Alabama, Robin Roberts grew up in Pass Christian, Mississippi and earned a degree in communication from Southern Louisiana University. She went on to become a sports reporter and anchor for a local TV station in Mississippi. At age 29, Roberts began hosting ESPN’s Sportscenter and, not long after, appearing as a guest reporter on Good Morning America. In 2005, she was hired as a full-time co-anchor of the morning news program. In August 2011, Roberts took a leave of absence from Good Morning America in order to undergo treatment for a rare blood disorder that she contracted after undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. She returned to the show on February 20, 2013. In early 2014, Roberts officially came out as a gay woman.