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One of the hardest working women in media has had one of her hardest years. But now Robin Roberts, 52, is putting the toughest part of 2013—her grueling battle with a rare blood disorder, MDS—behind her.

To celebrate, the Christian Good Morning America anchor took some friends along for a much-needed Hawaii getaway before returning to air full time after Labor Day.

“I was surrounded by a group of friends who loved me through this past year, and my gift to them was a trip to Hawaii,” Roberts told Vanity Fair in an interview at the 13th Annual USTA Serves Opening Night Gala, which kicked off the US Open in New York Monday.

“Because in the hospital, I had a picture of Maui; I had a picture of the beach, and that was my motivation. So to have us all there was all I really needed.”

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