The holidays are supposed to be a season of joy and cheer, but for some of us, they can be the hardest time of the year. OptionB.Org partnered with TIME to commission essays from influential people who have struggled themselves about what has helped them during difficult holiday seasons in the past. In this excerpt, Robin Roberts talks about a difficult Thanksgiving.
I always looked forward to Thanksgiving. It was never just my immediate family — my parents invited extended family, family of the extended family and whomever else was left in the neighborhood. All stragglers were welcome. My mom — who often joked that her food looked better than it tasted — made the quintessential Americana Thanksgiving meal: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry out of the can, yams with marshmallows and sweet potato pie. Her prized side was a rutabaga dish that I only remember my dad eating, and not always willingly!
In November 2012, however, I wouldn’t make it down to our family home in Pass Christian, Mississippi. Myelodysplastic Syndrome took away my health and had deflated my holiday spirit — I was fighting for my life. I had just been released from the hospital after spending 30 days in isolation following a bone marrow transplant. My only foreseeable goal was to make it to 100 days post-transplant — my survival depended on it.
Read the rest of Robin's story at TIME.
Robin Roberts is co-anchor of Good Morning America and the co-author of Everybody's Got Something.