Hoda Kotb opens up to Drew Barrymore about her 2007 cancer diagnosis

Jacquie Cadorette
October 18, 2020 - 2:46 pm
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Hoda Kotb is revealing how she knew it was the right time to open up about her cancer diagnosis from over a decade ago.

During an appearance on "The Drew Barrymore Show," the 56-year-old Today anchor told Barrymore that it was actually the words of a kind stranger that had her feeling strong enough to make her private struggles a little more public.

Barrymore praised Kotb for her ability to remain positive through trying times. "Even when you have to deliver the facts, and it's our civic duty to understand what's going on around the world, you still exude positivity and hope," Barrymore said.

"You have been kind enough to bring people into your life and your experience, which just makes us feel like we know you all the more," Barrymore continued.

But Kotb revealed that it was difficult to share the news of her cancer diagnosis with fans. "When I was working at NBC with breast cancer, I was determined to put that deep in my pockets and not share that because I didn't want to be that person," she explained.

When a stranger on a plane with Kotb asked about her compression sleeve, it led Kotb to talking more about her cancer. When she told the stranger she hoped he wouldn't remember her this way, he offered some words of wisdom.

"What's wrong with you? Having cancer is part of you. It's like working at NBC or getting married or graduating college. Let me give you some advice and you can go to sleep: don't hog your journey, it's not just for you," Kotb recounted of the interaction.

The stranger continued, "You can put your stuff deep in your pockets and take it to your grave or you can help someone. Those are your choices, A or B, choose."

Kotb remembers changing her outlook in that moment. "I sat there in that moment with a complete stranger and realized I had just changed the path of my life," she said.

Recently, Kotb revealed that she and fiancé Joel Schiffman had filled out the paperwork to adopt a third child.

"Look, it's not in our hands now," Kotb said to Barrymore about the announcement. "We filled out the paperwork and say it's in God's hands, like, come what may. I just know your heart's ability to expand blows my mind. You can fit so much love in there."

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