In October, 40-year-old Amy Robach had her first mammogram as part of Good Morning America’s effort to raise awareness of breast cancer. The mother of two was surprised to receive a breast cancer diagnosis shortly afterward. She underwent a bilateral mastectomy and reconstructive surgery in November and then started eight rounds of chemotherapy in December, after a lymph node tested positive for the disease. Robach returned to work as a GMA correspondent, saying she was inspired by colleague Robin Roberts, a six-year survivor of breast cancer who also underwent a bone marrow transplantation for myelodysplastic syndrome this past year.
In January, Robach invited cameras to film her as she got her hair cut short, saying, “I’m sharing this because I want all the women who have gone through it, who are going through it now, and who will be going through it, to know two things: that you’re not alone and that you too can be brave.”
On Dec. 16, physician and researcher Janet D. Rowley, 88, died of complications related to ovarian cancer. Rowley became the first person to show a link between certain genetic abnormalities and cancer.
In 1972, she discovered that a genetic mutation in which two chromosomes swap material, called a translocation, caused certain leukemias, such as acute myeloid leukemia and acute promyelocytic leukemia. And although the Philadelphia chromosome in chronic myeloid leukemia had already been identified, it was Rowley who discovered that it was a translocation that produced it.
Rowley received many honors for her medical research, including the National Medal of Science and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor for a civilian.
Country crooner Ray Price, 87, died of pancreatic cancer on Dec. 15. He was known for such hits as “Crazy Arms,” “Make the World Go Away” and “Heartaches by the Number.”
Price was credited with changing the sound of country music in the mid-1950s with what became his signature shuffle beat and honkytonk sound. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996.