“Make your mess your message” • Homage to Robin Roberts

• Originally posted on UAL Women in Media •

Who do you look up to most in your life? The answer to that question differs from person to person – a parent, friend, singer, actress. 

Personally, I used to love One Direction and was also part of the Shawn Mendes fandom as a young teen. My childhood bedroom was filled with posters, CDs and all sorts of merchandise. 

I turn twenty this year, and although I continue to listen to these artists, I’m not as captivated by them as before. My focus has shifted throughout the years. Currently, I study BA Journalism at the London College of Communication. Since then, I started to connect with different people from the media industry. One person keeps inspiring me each day in my personal and professional life. Her name is Robin Roberts. 

Robin Roberts is an American journalist and co-anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America. Indeed, there are various outstanding professionals in the field of journalism, but Robin Roberts is my role model. 

In 2010, I was diagnosed with type one diabetes, a disease that affects my life up to this day. Some people judged and mistreated me because of my diabetes, although it’s not my fault that I got it in the first place. I let their opinions influence me, and I felt anxious about sharing my story. I’m a journalist now. Staying objective to deliver accurate, non-opinion-based news is part of my job. But then, I stumbled across Robin Roberts and her story. On the platform Masterclass, which offers a broad selection of courses led by professionals from many industries, I learned more about her career life and what role her personal experience plays in it. 

In 2007, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Robin Roberts explains that it is essential to “Make your mess your message”.

This quote changed my whole perspective. I have a different health issue, different environment and experience than Robin Roberts. Still, her speech cleared my doubts about being a diabetic and my role in speaking to the public. I might have been able to be more confident at some point in my life without Robin Roberts, but she pushed me onto the right mindset. 

Her mum motivated her to share the life-changing information with the audience because she was also worried about sharing this personal news.  

“You have a good job. You have health benefits. [..] What about people that don’t have these resources? BE THEIR VOICE.”, said Robin Roberts mum, according to the Masterclass lesson “Robin Roberts Teaches Effective and Authentic Communication.”

According to World Health Organisation, breast cancer is the most common cancer, with more than 2.2 million cases in 2020. To talk about it and to raise awareness is so important. Robin Roberts is a public figure and has the advantage of reaching a larger group of people. By sharing her individual story, she also underlines the fact that despite her being a known person in the media industry, she can still suffer from breast cancer like anybody else.

Her message takes another turning point during ABC’s news reportage of the “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” in 2013. A colleague, Amy Robach, was asked to perform a mammogram on the show. Robin Roberts’ encouragement helped Robach perform the detection method. Her breast cancer was diagnosed on live television the same day. 

It sounds like a Hollywood movie. That’s because we are not used to seeing these kinds of emotions and personal stories on traditional news. 

I love being a journalist and I accept being a diabetic. I have much more to learn, even after I finish my course at university. I’m not behaving like a super hyper fangirl like I did for One Direction and Shawn Mendes. Still, I feel motivated by Robin Roberts to be myself and to not hide behind my disease. 

“Venture outside your comfort zone. To stop growing is to stop living.” Robin Roberts in “From the Heart: Seven Rules to Live By”

Showing emotions is not a weakness. It does not matter if you are a doctor, celebrity, train controller, etc. – we are all humans. Roberts continues to share her battle with breast cancer. In 2012, she faced another challenge. As a result of the chemotherapy, she developed a rare blood cancer called MDS – myelodysplastic syndrome. She needed a bone marrow transplant. Around 30% of the matches are from family members, but the majority comes from the registry. As an African American woman, the likelihood to get a match from the registry is lower. Luckily, her sister was a match, and she was able to get a bone marrow transplant. But other people might not have a family member that is a perfect match. What about them? Roberts addresses this issue to raise awareness to help other people fight sickness. I admire that she used every challenge thrown into her life to openly speak about it to save other lives.

“Today, we calculate that 9.3% of adults aged 20–79 years – a staggering 463 million people – are living with diabetes. A further 1.1 million children and adolescents under the age of 20, live with type 1 diabetes.”, states the International Diabetes Federation.

And I’m one of them. Last year, I started my own blog called Citronnade, where I also write about my life with diabetes. I also enable other people who suffer from any health-related issue to share their emotions and stories. I might not be the voice of all diabetics, but I can be a voice that speaks up and raises awareness. I make my mess my message – what about you?

Robin Roberts noticed this article. I'm very honoured and the level of excitement is immaculate!





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