Weeks after Michael Strahan’s hiatus, he and one of his twin daughters is opening up.
In late October through mid-November, Michael Strahan was absent from Good Morning America and NFL on FOX. Although Strahan didn’t go into detail about his absence, he did reveal that it was a family matter he was dealing with.
“Michael Strahan will not be with us this week as he is dealing with some personal family matters.”
Now, in a sit-down interview with friend and colleague Robin Roberts, Michael and his daughter 19-year-old Isabella Strahan are sharing their story.
Heartbreakingly, Isabella revealed she was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2023. The malignant brain tumor is known as medulloblastoma and she’s been fighting it ever since her diagnosis.
“I literally think that in a lot of ways, I’m the luckiest man in the world because I’ve got an amazing daughter,” Michael Strahan told Robin Roberts on Good Morning America. “I know she’s going through it, but I know that we’re never given more than we can handle and that she is going to crush this.”
As Isabella explained, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor one month after she began experiencing headaches. She was a freshman at USC at the time.
“I didn’t notice anything was off till probably like October 1,” Isabella told Roberts. ”That’s when I definitely noticed headaches, nausea, couldn’t walk straight.”
But enough was enough on October 25 when she woke up and started vomiting blood. “I woke up, probably at like, 1 p.m. I dreaded waking up. But I was throwing up blood. I was like, ‘Hm, this probably isn’t good.’ So I texted [my sister], who then notified the whole family.”
It was at that moment, Isabella agreed to see a doctor. “And thank goodness for the doctor,” Strahan said. “I feel like this doctor saved her life because she was thorough enough to say, ‘Let’s do the full checkup.’”
“She did an [electrocardiogram, or EKG], there for my heart and like, other stuff, but she didn’t have an MRI machine, so I went to [get an MRI] somewhere else. And then she calls me and she’s like, ‘You need to head to Cedars-Sinai [Medical Center] right now. I’m gonna meet you there.’”
As Good Morning America reports, the MRI revealed that Isabella had a 4-centimeter tumor, “bigger than a golf ball,” in the back of her brain. And it was growing fast.
When Michael learned about his daughter’s diagnosis, he admitted “it just doesn’t feel real. It just didn’t feel real.” On October 27, just one day before Isabella turned 19, she underwent surgery to have the tumor removed.
After the surgery, Isabella said her memory is foggy and she has had to relearn how to walk. But thankfully, her twin Sophia has been by her side.
Thankfully, despite all the pain and hardship Isabella has endured in the last couple of months, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“I just finished radiation therapy, which is proton radiation, and I got to ring the bell yesterday,” she said. “It was great. It was very exciting because it’s been a long 30 sessions, six weeks.” And now she’s preparing to start chemotherapy in February.
“That’s my next step. I’m ready for it to start and be one day closer to being over. […] I’m feeling good. Not too bad. And I’m very excited for this whole process to wrap. But you just have to keep living every day, I think, through the whole thing.”
And as a way to help her navigate this journey openly, Isabella announced she was partnering with Duke Children’s Hospital & Health Center in Durham, North Carolina, where she will be receiving chemotherapy, to share her continuing story via a YouTube series.
“It’s been like, two months of keeping it quiet, which is definitely difficult. I don’t wanna hide it anymore ’cause it’s hard to always keep in. I hope to just kind of be a voice, and be [someone] who people, maybe [those who] are going through chemotherapy or radiation can look at.”
Although Isabella is ready to beat this and get back to college and her normal routine, both she and her dad admit that this journey had put into perspective what’s really important in life. “Perspective is a big thing. I’m grateful. I am grateful just to walk or see friends or do something, ’cause when you can’t do something, it like, really impacts you.”
Her twin sister Sophia Strahan also took to Instagram to share her love and admiration for her. “I’m so lucky to have the most amazing sister and best friend in the world. The last few months have been so much harder than we could have ever imagined, but it’s made me realize just how strong you are. You inspire me and I’m so proud of you. Us forever,” she wrote.
Our thoughts are with Isabella Strahan as she continues to fight this battle.