Hoda Kotb knows very well the struggle of going through cancer, and now the Today show host is doing her best to lift the spirits of kids battling the disease.
Hoda plans to help out children being treated at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital by making a music video featuring them, saying it will be “an anthem about being brave and being strong.”
“As a cancer survivor myself, I know what it feels like as a grownup,” Hoda said. “But what I can’t even fathom, even now, is what it feels like to be a kid… struggling with this grown-up disease, something they shouldn’t have to deal with. And all you want to do is reach out and help and hug.”
Her effort is part of the Shine a Light campaign, one that each of the other Today anchors involved in various programs to give back. Hoda’s co-host Kathie Lee Gifford’s set a goal for 2014 to raise money for the Salvation Army through a book encouraging families to make memories with their loved ones. Carson Daly has chosen to shed light on hunger in America.
Hoda Kotb has been very open about her own fight with breast cancer. In 2007 she underwent a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery for breast cancer, and afterward became an advocate for breast cancer awareness.
Ironically, though Hoda was working as a health correspondent, she never had a cancer screening herself until she was 43.
“I just didn’t do it,” she said. “I wasn’t scared of it. I ask people all the time why they haven’t gotten checked for various things, and here I was not getting screened.”
After her cancer was detected, Hoda opted for surgery but had a difficult recovery afterward. She said it took months before she was up and walking again, but in that time took up journaling and came to peace with her cancer.
“I got a four…word take…away… and every woman who survives breast cancer gets this takeaway,” Hoda Kotb said. “We get, You can’t scare me. You get a bad card, but here’s that window that God opens: You can’t scare me. And there’s nothing better than getting that because small things don’t matter as much, because you get rid of the people in your life who are hurting you, because you hold on tight to those who help you; and it’s a moment of complete and total focus because for once in your life you get it.”
Fans can track Hoda Kotb in her project to help kids with cancer through the Shine a Light page on Facebook.