Longtime ESPN journalist and current “Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts gave a moving yet upbeat speech in accepting the Arthur Ashe Courage Award on Wednesday night at the 2013 ESPYs at Nokia Theatre.
Roberts is a breast cancer survivor and underwent a bone marrow transplant last fall to treat a life-threatening blood and bone marrow disease.
“Through it all I learned that true strength isn’t when you face down life’s challenges on your own,” Roberts said. “It’s when you take them on by accepting the help, faith and love of others and knowing you are lucky to have those.”
Roberts kept a smile on her face through most of the speech but got choked up twice: when mentioning her older sister, Sally-Ann Roberts, who was her bone marrow donor and when talking about standing backstage 20 years ago when former basketball coach and broadcaster Jimmy Valvano gave his own inspirational speech in accepting the first Ashe award, just weeks before he would die of cancer.
“I never imagined I’d be able to be standing here 20 years after Jimmy V’s speech and say that because of everyone who has responded to his challenge, because of all the donations, research and support, mine is one of the lives that’s been saved,” Roberts said.
“And now I ask you to save someone else, give strength to someone else.”