Leaning into Faith as a Cancer Survivor
- Breast cancer survivor Robin Roberts is a very faith-based person. This week, she talked about the importance in leaning into God’s strength when you’re facing obstacles.
- Roberts has been supporting her partner, Amber Laign, during her own breast cancer journey. Thankfully, Laign finished her radiation treatments earlier this year.
- Although it’s not for everyone, leaning into faith can help cancer warriors and their loved ones stay positive when times get tough.
- Tom Evans, pastor of the Brick Presbyterian Church located in New York City, spoke with SurvivorNet about the importance of opening up to others, including God, after receiving a cancer diagnosis.
Most days of the week, you can find a video posted to Roberts’ Instagram page sharing an uplifting morning message and prayer from her dressing room. And Tuesday’s topic of discussion was about leaning into God’s strength when you’re presented with challenges.
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“That obstacle may be too big for you but not for Him because He’s your protector, your deliverer, your way-maker, your provider, your healer,” she said. Everything will be fine.”
Roberts ended the video with a prayer for followers.
“Father, thank you,” she said. “Thank you that no matter what challenges or setbacks we face, we can stay at peace knowing you are with us.
“Thank you that you can turn every situation around and help us move forward. We declare that no obstacle is too big for you and everything will be fine.”
As she always does, the beloved news anchor concluded her prayer by pressing a button that lets out a sound of someone’s voice – presumably her partner Amber Laign’s.
“Right, sweet Amber?” she said before pressing the button.
Robin Roberts and Her Partner Battle Cancer
Robin Roberts has been with her partner, Amber Laign, for 17 years. And throughout their relationship, they’ve had to support each other during many highs and lows – including each of their breast cancer battles. Thankfully, it seems that Roberts’ faith has helped her keep a positive outlook on life despite the challenges the two have faced.
Roberts received her breast cancer diagnosis in 2007. Ironically, she was diagnosed after finding a lump in her breast during her preparation for a news segment on performing self-checks.
Thankfully, Roberts was declared cancer-free after surgery. But Roberts shared that Laign had to face breast cancer as well in February. Since her partner’s diagnosis, Roberts has been doing everything she can to support her partner throughout her cancer journey.
“I didn’t realize how much I had blocked out during my journey, and it was because of sweet Amber—because she protected me and navigated for me,” Roberts said in a previous interview with Ellen Degeneres. “So, I’m doing the same thing for her.”
And though she’s “had some complications with the chemotherapy” and “challenging” weeks to work through, Laign has since triumphantly completed her radiation treatments. In a post from July, Roberts shared the exciting news with fans.
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“Sweet Amber completing radiation, a very important phase of her treatment!,” Roberts wrote under a video of Laign ringing a bell to signify the end of radiation. “We both thank you for all your well wishes and prayers. Proud of her and all fellow Thrivers for your grit and grace during a challenging time. This is indeed my #mondaymotivation.”
It’s unclear where Laign is at with her cancer journey now, but we’re confident Roberts is firmly standing by her side every step of the way.
Turning to Faith during a Cancer Journey
For some people like Robin Roberts, turning to faith can be a great way to keep spirits high when cancer starts taking an emotional and/or physical toll. New York City Presbyterian Pastor Tom Evans previously spoke with SurvivorNet about the importance of find ways to cope with the complex web of feelings you may be experiencing after a cancer diagnosis.
“It’s important to reach out in a simple prayer to God, even if you’ve never prayed before, you don’t know what to say, a heartfelt plea, ‘God, help me, be with me,’” Pastor Evans told SurvivorNet. “You can reach out to God and you can reach out to people, your friends and family and say, ‘I can’t do this on my own. I need you,’
“It’s in that willingness to be open and to receive that we can actually find something deeper that we never would’ve encountered without this hardship.”
For Sharonda Vincent, faith played a huge role in helping her get through her stage 2B breast cancer battle.
“I knew that if I just put my faith and trust in God, that I would be okay,” Vincent previously told SurvivorNet.
She was diagnosed after finding a lump in her left breast the day before her thirtieth birthday with just over a month to go before her wedding. She initially felt like her concerns were dismissed by doctors, but follow-up tests confirmed Vincent’s worries.
“It was hard for me,” she said. “I felt as if I was being punished.”
Thankfully, chemotherapy, radiation and hormone replacement proved to be a successful treatment regimen for Vincent. Now, she wants others to be inspired by her story.
“If I had one piece of advice to give to someone who was newly diagnosed with breast cancer, that advice would be to not give up hope, to live every day as if it was their last day, to educate themselves,” she said. “I would let them know that it’s OK to cry.
“It’s OK to have days where they just want to be alone… But I would just push them to live a long, happy life because breast cancer – it’s not the end of the world.”
Putting Your Trust In God
Monica Layton, like Robin Roberts, also believes in the power of faith during a fight with cancer. She turned to her church congregation for support as she battled ovarian cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic and then went through recovery.
“[I’ve] gone to the same church for a long time, so it’s like another family that really supports me,” she told SurvivorNet in a previous interview. “We’re Episcopalian, and when I was having surgery my priest came to the hospital and stayed and prayed with my family the whole time – and it was a long surgery. And then he came back to the hospital every day to pray with me.”
In addition to praying for her, Layton’s church also sent flowers, cards and a prayer blanket and often visited her.
“They were so kind,” Layton said. “I think my faith has been very important, crucial for me. Just the prayer really helps, I think.”