Michael Strahan supported his daughter Isabella as she revealed to the world that she is battling a malignant brain tumor known as medulloblastoma. The pair appeared on Good Morning America on Thursday, January 11, to discuss her diagnosis and treatment.
During her freshman year of college at the University of Southern California, Isabella, 19, began to experience headaches.
“I didn’t notice anything was off till probably like October 1,” she told GMA host Robin Roberts during the talk show segment. “That’s when I definitely noticed headaches, nausea, couldn’t walk straight.”
When her symptoms persisted and she began throwing up blood, Michael, 52, and his family urged Isabella to visit a doctor in late October 2023. After Isabella got a thorough checkup, doctors asked her to meet them at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for further testing. It was there that the college student learned that she had a 4-centimeter tumor rapidly growing in the back of her brain.
Isabella underwent surgery to remove the tumor on October 27, 2023, which happened to be her 19th birthday. She went through multiple rounds of radiation and a month of rehabilitation prior to appearing on GMA.
Amid her recovery, the teen had to learn how to walk again. Luckily, she had the support of her dad and her twin sister, Sophia, to guide her through the difficult period. The broadcaster shares the twins with ex-wife Jean Muggli.
“So I just finished radiation therapy, which is proton radiation, and I got to ring the bell yesterday,” Isabella said. “It was great. It was very exciting because it’s been a long 30 sessions, six weeks.”
Isabella is preparing for her “next step,” which will be starting chemotherapy at Duke Children’s Hospital & Health Center in Durham, North Carolina, in February. Additionally, she partnered with the institution to launch a YouTube series documenting her cancer battle.
Isabella admitted that keeping her diagnosis private since October had been a bit daunting.
“It’s been like, two months of keeping it quiet, which is definitely difficult,” Isabella reflected. “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.”
Last year, Michael took time off of GMA at the end of October and returned to the show on November 15.
“Michael Strahan will not be with us this week as he is dealing with some personal family matters,” a spokesperson for ABC told Closer at the time of his absence. “We appreciate everyone’s thoughts and concerns.”
Once she finishes her treatment, Isabella hopes to return to normal life as a college student on the West Coast.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to college, and moving back to California, and just starting my school experience over,” she shared. “Not over, but just restarting, being back into a routine and something that’s enjoyable.”