Apr 22, 2019

Anchor shares obstacles at Women’s Conference

Robin Roberts exemplifies overcoming adversity. Not only was she the first African-American anchorwoman on ESPN, the first African-American co-anchor of ABC News’ Good Morning America and a best-selling author, but she also survived breast cancer.

Robin Roberts was the 2009 keynote speaker at the 22nd Central California Women’s Conference, held Tuesday at the New Exhibit Hall in downtown Fresno.

Roberts discussed the obstacles she faced growing up, her career and how she has overcome each of them.

Roberts is known not only for her trailblazing career, but the awareness she has brought to breast cancer and early detection.

In 2007, Roberts’ was diagnosed with breast cancer. She wondered if she should she keep quiet about it or publicize it?

“My mom told me to make your mess into a message,” said Roberts about her reason to let the nation watch her battle the disease.

One of Roberts’ defining moments came when she shaved her head on national television to symbolize her triumph over breast cancer.

“When Robin shaved her head it showed everyone that she was just an ordinary person.” said Wendy Fagan, a cancer survivor and California State University, Fresno alumna. “It’s great to know that she’s bringing awareness to early detection.”

Roberts’ next big move came when Good Morning America ran a segment called “I Dare You.”

Fellow co-hosts Diane Sawyer, Chris Cuomo and Sam Champion dared Roberts to be in a fashion show.

“I had just finished chemo, I was bloated with no hair, and I had to be in a fashion show,” Roberts said.

Prior to going on the show, she looked in the mirror. She then took off her wig and walked down the runway bald.

As other women talked to Roberts about their personal stories during the conference, you could see the tears in her eyes as she felt and related to what they were going through. Roberts said that her inspiration and strength came from her faith, family and friends.

Just like all the obstacles her career, Roberts told herself “this too shall pass.”

“I had to focus on the solution, not the problem,” Roberts said.

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