Good Morning America's Amy Robach celebrated five years since her breast cancer diagnosis by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

By Julie Mazziotta
October 30, 2018 02:02 PM

Five years after her breast cancer diagnosis, Amy Robach lives in fear of a recurrence. But rather than focusing on that fear, she decided to channel it into another and tackle one of the toughest summits in the world — Mount Kilimanjaro.

“It was five years ago today, actually, that I was at NYU getting the worst news of my life, and I went through something, of course, that thousands of women go through across this country every year,” Robach, 45, said on GMA Tuesday morning. “But many of us want to confront our fear, in the face of a health crisis, and the possibility of a recurrence always looms large for every survivor. Which is why I chose to celebrate my survival and I decided to embark on a different kind of journey and to face fear of a different kind.”

Robach said that she appreciated the symbolism of climbing a mountain.

“Now five years later, I’ve asked family and friends to help celebrate my survival with something big — 19,341 ft. big. Africa’s tallest peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro,” she said. “It just made sense for me, because I had another mountain that I had to climb, five years ago. I had to battle breast cancer; go through a year of hell, as so many women have had, and live with a lifetime of fear. Fear of recurrence; fear of it coming back; and instead of living in fear I decide to live defying fear.”

Robach recruited everyone from her 65-year-old dad to her youngest daughter, 12-year-old Analise, to join her for the five-day hike. The group of ten started out well, but as with most people who attempt the climb, they had trouble with altitude sickness. Robach said she really felt it during their final ascent, where there was 50 percent less oxygen compared to when they started.

“This last hour has been really hard,” she said. “I’m struggling.”

But the whole group proudly made it to the summit.

“I’m getting emotional, because I know we’ve all worked really hard,” Robach said. “And I think that anything worth doing requires a little bit of courage. It’s about who you’re with, and the journey up and the lessons you learn along the way. Facing fear of all kinds, and part of facing fear is climbing virtual mountains and real mountains.”

RELATED VIDEO: Meet the Woman Who Just Climbed Mount Kilimanjaro Despite Losing Most of Her Vision and Hearing