Robin Roberts Gets Emotional Surprise by the Nurses Who Helped Her During Hospitalization

"Thank you, thank you for being our lifeline. Thank you for being there, not only for us, but for our caregivers, our loved ones," she told them

By Bruna Nessif Oct 27, 2016 3:07 AMTags

Get ready for some tears.

Robin Roberts has openly discussed her battle with cancer and bone marrow disease in the past, and even confessed that there was a point when she felt "completely alone," but she can't deny the wonderful assistance she got from some special nurses.

During a special nurses' hour episode of Harry with Harry Connick Jr. (airing tomorrow), Roberts was surprised with a special appearance by two nurses who helped treat her during the Good Morning America co-anchor's 30-day stint in the hospital.

But not before Roberts emotionally recalled her time in treatment.


Robin Roberts Talks Coming Out on "Ellen"
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

"Invaluable," she said of the nurses. "I mean, like I said, they know before anybody else, doctors included, what's working and what's not working. There was one nurse in particular—I mean, they were all fantastic, I can name them all—but Jenny [Tran]…my mother passed away shortly before my transplant, my bone marrow transplant. And my mom had been there when I got any kind of boo-boo, and here I was going through this kind of situation, and she passed away," Roberts began to explain.

Tears began to well up in her eyes as she continued, "And there was a time when I was in my room, I sent everybody away, and I was in my room, and I just felt like I'm slipping away. I just couldn't."

She explained, "I kept hearing this voice, ‘Robin! Robin! Robin!' And suddenly, I open my eyes, and it's Jenny, my nurse Jenny. She's looking at me. That was my mother's voice. I am convinced, when I was hearing that, even though it was Jenny, it was my mother's voice I was hearing. And that was Jenny."

Well, whaddya know? Jenny and nurse Tonya Samuel were both there to surprise Robin!

After some hearty hugs, Robin expressed her gratitude for what they do. "Thank you, thank you for being our lifeline. Thank you for being there, not only for us, but for our caregivers, our loved ones. We know…unsung heroes? Not today. We are singing your praises."

Last year, Roberts opened up for Humans of New York to reveal the overwhelming feeling of isolation she experienced while going through chemotherapy, telling the story that she shared on Harry.

"Before my bone marrow transplant, I had to have my immune system completely wiped out with chemotherapy," she wrote. "I went into the hospital thinking that I was going to do a lot of reading and watch old movies and catch up on work. One thing that I didn't fully anticipate was the isolation that I'd feel."

NBCUniversal Harry/Mike Coppola

She continued, "I knew I'd be physically isolated. The doctors and nurses wore masks so all I could see were their eyes. And nobody touched me unless they were administering medicine. But the pain and weakness brought me to a place where I felt completely alone."

Eventually she says the pain got so bad and she got so weak that she could barely even formulate a thought.

"At one point I actually gave up. I made everyone leave my room, even my partner, and I started slipping away," she recalled the dark moment. "I hallucinated my mother's voice calling my name. I heard it very distinctly. But when I opened my eyes—it was my nurse Jenny that was calling me. At the point of my greatest isolation, it was almost as if my mother used Jenny's voice to call me back."

Since her recovery she's returned to work, become active with Be the Match—which helps raise awareness and funds for patients in need of bone marrow transplants—and gone public with her relationship to partner Amber Laign.