Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer: How to Be a Caring Friend

Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer talk about the small but meaningful gestures that make a huge difference when someone you love is fighting cancer.
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Do the inglorious tasks.

Robin Roberts: Diane came with me to get my chemo one day, and when she walked in, my mother [Lucimarian Roberts] proceeded to give her a grocery list. I was mortified. [Laughs] I was like, "Mom! " and Diane just picked up a pad and said, "Don't even move."

Diane Sawyer: I had to go to four different grocery stores to get everything on that list.

RR: And I'm looking at Diane like, "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry," and you're saying, "No problem!"

LHJ: What was on it that you needed to go to four different stores?

DS: I couldn't find the specific brand of something....

RR: And the collard greens. And the Jiffy cornbread mix.

DS: And believe me, I was not going to disappoint Miss Lucimarian -- if I had to spend the rest of my life going to grocery stores.

Call first, ask questions later.

DS: Another friend of mine who had cancer once said that the people she didn't want to call called her all the time. But that the people she did want to call were afraid they were intruding. That always stayed with me because I thought, at least find out if you're one of the people they don't want calling. But I also remember Robin told me how a friend of hers came over to walk her dog. [Roberts has a Jack Russell terrier named K.J.] She just came. She didn't ask. I thought, wow, that's a great lesson. Everyone says, "What can I do?" but sometimes if you're sick, you don't want to have to give instructions.

RR: You want the person to just do it.

Have good timing.

RR: On the last day of my radiation treatments in March I was down in the basement at the place where I got the treatment and I wanted to celebrate. So I called Diane on her cell phone and said, "Diane, it's over!" and she's like, "Yay!" and I said, "Where are you?" She goes, "Why?" I'm like, "Let's go have a drink." And she goes, "Okay. Well, get in your car, then call me." I hung up and I'm thinking, in my car? So I get in the elevator, come up, and who's standing right there with the biggest bouquet of flowers? Diane.

Share the power of prayer.

RR: When I got in the car early the morning of my surgery, I was with my mom, my sisters, nieces. The car's just packed. And my driver hands me a letter that Diane had gotten to him that morning. And it was about her prayer warriors.

DS: A group of friends of mine call themselves the stealth prayer warriors. It said they were there long before she got up, with their angel wings, watching over her.

RR And I had that waiting for me in the car that was going to take me to the hospital.

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, August 2008.


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