The way Jo Ann Jantz Tolbert has approached her fight with breast cancer has her friends and family calling her a superhero.
As part of breast cancer awareness month and the #PinkPowerTODAY series, Hoda Kotb thought it was only fitting that Tolbert get to meet with an actress who knows a thing or two about playing someone with super powers.
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Tolbert, a huge Wonder Woman fan who once carried a cape to her mastectomy for courage, thought she was just going to New York City on Thursday to watch TODAY as a fan.
Instead, Hoda set up a surprise meeting with Lynda Carter, who famously portrayed Wonder Woman on television in the 1970s.
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The two shared an emotional hug, and Carter also gave Tolbert an autographed painting from her Wonder Woman days.
Before the meeting, Carter herself often liked Tolbert’s Facebook posts about her courageous battle, marveling at her positivity in the face of cancer. The mother of two from upstate New York has also received Wonder Woman paraphernalia from friends and family.
All of it has kept Tolbert motivated to keep fighting against Stage 4 cancer.
“She’s always thought that she could beat it,” Joann’s husband, Jim Tolbert, told TODAY. “She’s been positive the entire time. She’s never, never wavered from that.”
“She marches out the door and she says, ‘I’m off to kill some cancer,”’ her sister, Veronica Williamson, told TODAY.
Tolbert’s love for the Amazon princess superhero goes back a long time.
“Being little girls in the 80s, we had our Wonder Woman Underoos,” her friend, Jessica Fong, told TODAY. “And she’s been a fan of Wonder Woman since it was on TV. It’s kind of become her champion, her icon for her battle.”
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“Nobody can mess with Wonder Woman,” Jim said. “Wonder Woman can beat all odds. You know, she never loses. The invincible warrior princess — that’s Jo Ann.”
The two superheroes finally met face to face on Thursday, leaving Tolbert crying tears of joy.
“I want Jo Ann to have an amazing memory that will continue to give her strength and know that we’re not just rooting for her, everybody’s rooting for her,” Fong said.
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