Michelle Obama receives more than 2,000 letters a month from readers responding to her 2018 memoir, “Becoming.”
Obama says those letters inspired her new book, “The Light We Carry,” and the former first lady was able to meet one of the people behind the words TODAY with Hoda & Jenna.
In a video, Irene Dimatulac read from the letter she wrote to Obama while battling osteosarcoma, a bone cancer, in her left leg.
“My cancer journey so far has been harrowing, with so much pain, fear of the outside world, and with the pressure to be strong during this tough time,” she wrote.
“All these details to say, your book has been a blessing on what could be a lonely journey,” Dimatulac continued. “On days when chemotherapy made it difficult to even focus on watching TV, I could get lost listening to you narrate your book.”
Dimatulac, 25, shared in the letter that she had professional portraits taken to “challenge the negative voices in my head and to embrace my journey.” She sent the photos to Obama to tell him how proud she was of them.
“And I hope you’re proud of me too,” she wrote. “You, Mrs. Obama, have been as much of a support to me in my cancer journey as anyone in my life. Thank you, and I hope this email brings you some joy as you have deeply touched another young life .”
After the video wrapped, Dimatulac was introduced on stage and met the author who helped her through her cancer journey.
“I’m going to go to you,” Dimatulac told Obama.
“You did! You did,” Obama said, adding that the letters she receives from readers like Dimatulac make her feel like it’s all worth it.
“Well, you know, that makes it all worthwhile, and that’s the power of ‘The Light We Carry,'” Obama said. “You know, if you can see it in yourself, you can spread it to someone else, and you’ll never know whose life it’s going to change and whose life you’re changing in the process of sharing your story.”
“So you’re pretty amazing,” she told Dimatulac.
“I’m going to put it on my LinkedIn,” Dimatulac replied with a smile.
TODAY co-anchor Hoda Kotb then revealed that not only did Dimatulac meet Obama, she also got to see some of her medical team from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Five of her doctors and nurses then jumped up from their seats in the audience, prompting Dimatulac to say her contact lenses were fogging up.
“My contacts are foggy and I’m not even wearing contacts,” TODAY’s Jenna Bush Hager agreed.
This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY: