"Good Morning America" co-host Robin
Roberts agreed in June to speak at a fund raiser for an
organization which provides wigs to women battling cancer.
"I had no idea at the time that I would a short time later be
diagnosed with breast cancer myself," Roberts told The Associated
Press in a phone interview. "I am a firm believer that everything
happens for a reason."
Roberts, who grew up in Pass Christian, Miss., will be returning
to the Mississippi Gulf Coast on Wednesday, the two-year
anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. She is scheduled to speak at an
event for The Pink Heart Funds, a nonprofit organization that
provides wigs and breast prostheses to women suffering from breast
cancer who have little or no funds.
"I kind of looked at the heavens and said 'did you know
something up there that I didn't know that led me to say 'yes' to
this?"' she said.
Roberts, who announced to GMA viewers on July 31 that she had
been diagnosed with the disease, said she will "speak from the
heart." She did say she would discuss how she first found the
cancer during a self breast exam. An ultra sound, not a mammogram,
later found the tumor, she added. The former college basketball
star had no family history of breast cancer and said she ate right.
"It happens. I am hoping to just make people more aware," she
Roberts, 46, underwent surgery on Aug. 3 and returned to the
"Good Morning America" just 10 days later.
"My mother was fussing at me for coming back in 10 days, but I
wanted to get back as quickly as possible," Roberts said.
Roberts said her prognosis is "quite good." She is currently
getting opinions from several doctors and anticipates her
additional treatment, which may mean chemotherapy, will begin in
the next 3 to 4 weeks. Roberts would discuss specifics her further
treatment, saying she wants to wait until things are certain.
Plans for the Aug. 29 fund raiser Roberts is speaking at began
in June, after a Gulf Coast philanthropist who wishes to remain
anonymous contacted the group about having a fund raiser for the
"We wanted that date because this is a feel good story to rise
up out of Katrina that has nothing to do with the storm," said
Michele Hirata, president of The Pink Heart Funds.
JoAn Niceley founded The Pink Heart Funds after seeing cancer
patients who lost everything including their wigs during the storm.
A hairdresser and wig specialist, Niceley started using her own
money to buy them wigs.
"Losing your hair is the most devastating part," said Niceley,
a breast cancer survivor who has been cancer free for five years.
Soon, Niceley added a little pink heart box to her hairstyling
station and invited people to donate money for the wigs for those
unable to buy them.
"They had to spend money on a new home and furniture and really
not on themselves because they needed a roof over their heads,"
The organization's fund raising efforts soon grew with Niceley's
cookbook "Appetite For Living - Pink Ribbon Recipes." The book
sold 2,800 copies in its first four months, Niceley said.
In May the group's first big fundraiser, a festival featuring
music and barbecue, netted $6,000.
The organization has also started the Pony Tail Club, which
collects hair at least 6 inches long from volunteers to make into
wigs for children without insurance who are going through any type
of hair loss illness, including cancer.
Hirata, who lost her mother to breast cancer, has created
special Chemo Caps for patients suffering the effects of cancer
treatment. The hats are made from T-shirts and are well ventilated
to prevent the head from sweating. They also provide a conservation
piece for people who are losing their hair from chemotherapy, she
"People don't come up to them and say 'I'm sorry you have
cancer,"' Hirata said. "Now they ask where they got that hat."
Roberts and her mother both own the Chemo Caps.
"I may get some use out of it now," Roberts said.
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