Cokie Roberts’ battle with breast cancer: Part 2

Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 and worked to encourage women to get regular mammograms. She passed away from complications of the disease on Tuesday.
5:48 | 09/18/19

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Transcript for Cokie Roberts’ battle with breast cancer: Part 2
throughout our history have been incredibly influential and unbelievably brave. Cokie Roberts wasn't just a journalist. She was a survivor. Every year millions of women around the world learn they have breast cancer. Cokie Roberts in the house. In 2002, it was cokie. But in true cokie fashion, she refused to let it beat her or even take her off the air. I felt, first going on the air in a wig that I looked really goofy. And election night 2002, it was my best wig. It was the human hair wig, not the synthetic wig. And I thought it just looked awful. So I don't know. It's hard. Her bravery inspiring others, like this up and coming TV writer, Jessica queller. At the time, I don't remember feeling very brave, but I remember cokie continually telling me that I was very brave. Jessica's mother had just died from ovarian cancer. In 2004, Jessica took a then groundbreaking genetic test and found out she was positive for the braca gene which put her at high odds to get breast cancer. She asked if I wanted to speak to her mother-in-law. I knew her mother-in-law was cokie Roberts. And I absolutely was enamored by cokie. I was intimidated by cokie. I was a huge fan of cokie's. Tonight, the story of the young woman who learns what she's inherited from her mother. A year later, Jessica decided to tell the world, sharing her story with cokie, right here on a special edition of "Nightline." Just tell me the story of deciding to get tested for the breast cancer gene. My mother had had breast cancer, which she beat. That interview with cokie Roberts on "Nightline" absolutely changed my life. It was a turning point in my life. Jessica discussing the new science that she hoped would help save her life. And he said yes, it's very bad. It means you will most likely get cancer at some point in your life and it's a very good thing you took this test. And after you got that news, we should say here, I was one of the people you contacted, because you are a very good friend of my daughter-in-law. You were in my son's wedding, and you knew that I had had breast cancer. Yes. Jessica said it was cokie's warmth that made it possible for her to talk about something so intimate, so painful. I remember looking into cokie's eyes and feel ago sense of calm and feeling that I was going to be taken care of, and that I was with someone who cared about me personally, as well as cared about being the best journalist that she would and my nerves fell away once I connected with cokie, and I was grounded. Cokie even revealing her personal struggle. And I said to you that one of the options was to get breast cancer and treat it. Mm-hm. Every day there are more treatment options, more therapies available. Mm-hm. For breast cancer. Mm-hm. Many of us are walking around, having had breast cancer, and you said that was just not an option for you. Well, I spoke to many oncologists around the country, one of whom was your doctor, and I think it was she who told me it really is a personal choice. To me, breast cancer is the worst thing in the world. I came to the decision that I, I would do anything I needed to do to prevent it in the first Jessica says the interview and the example cokie set helped put her on a path towards advocacy and leadership. All these years later, a mother herself. The way cokie treats her son and her daughter and her grandchildren, that's the kind of mother and grandmother that I aspire to be. Throughout her storied career, cokie was known for always putting family first. My favorite quote from cokie is when she was asked about her breast cancer scare in 2002. When she was first diagnosed with breast cancer, and someone asked if it changed her perspective on life. And she said no. I've always had the same perspective on life, family first. That was a message she tried to make sure we all heard. Cokie and her husband Steve recently celebrated their 53rd adversary. Their interfaith marriage blending his jewish and her catholic faith seamlessly. Part of it was get being Steve to propose to me. Getting to the wedding it wasn't bad at all. Cokie Roberts was someone who really walked the walk of the gospels. You talk to people, all kinds of people, about her kindness, the acts of kindness that came naturally to her, the discipline of kindness in a way. Genuine kindness was her hallmark. Part of her legacy, her fight against breast cancer, from which we now know she died. And yet her brilliant career seems merely a backdrop to her life's true mission. How would you like to be remembered? I'd like to be remembered as a mother and a wife and friend. Of people that I love very, very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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