Everyone has their favorite news anchors, and Zoraida Sambolin has definitely made her mark with the NBC 5 News Today team. Zoraida's lengthy resume includes the fact she became the first Chicago on-air broadcaster to work at both English and Spanish news stations simultaneously. With an impressive career before her, fans wondered what happened that caused her to step back at the height of her career.
2013 was a big year for Zoraida Sambolin, full of ups and downs.
After launching her career as a freelance news anchor for broadcasts such as WMAQ-TV and WSNS-TV, Zoraida was eventually promoted to weekday anchor of NBC News 5 Today, alongside co-anchor Rob Elgas. Zoraida eventually left WMAQ in Nov. 2011 to co-anchor CNN's morning program Early Start alongside co-anchor Ashleigh Banfield.
While Zoraida would be leaving her hometown of Chicago to do reporting in New York, she had no idea that just a few years later she would be returning for entirely different reasons. In January 2013, she revealed she was engaged to baseball executive Kenny Williams. While engagement is typically a happy event, the nuptials were cut short due to Zoraida's cancer diagnosis.
The news anchor had been officially diagnosed with breast cancer in April of 2013, but she did not publicly speak about her diagnosis until May 7, 2013. According to The Chicago Tribune, Zoraida also disclosed she would be undergoing a double mastectomy, and felt empowered to speak about her struggle after Angelina Jolie had also undergone similar treatment.
Zoraida told viewers her surgery was scheduled for May 28, and that it was "'a tough decision to make,' but said she would 'cut off her arms' if it enabled her to live to see her two children grow up." Following her announcement, Zoraida was flooded with well-wishes from viewers, friends, and family, and she posted a picture of her recovery on Facebook, noting that her fiancée was taking good care of her.
What is Zoraida up to now?
Thankfully, Zoraida has since recovered from her double mastectomy and has been cancer free! She did relocate in 2013 back to Chicago, but cited the reason as wanting to be closer to family. Latin Post quotes her teary-eyed farewell to New York, "I thought about this long and hard ... you all know this was a very difficult decision for me. I did it primarily for my kids. They're going to be very happy in Chicago and this has taught me a lot."
Zoraida has returned to be an early-morning news anchor for NBC 5 since 2014, and recently gained a new co-anchor on WMAQ-Ch. 5: Michelle Relerford! Michelle has been a co-anchor since July 2020, and even took to Twitter to reply to praise the two's fun, easygoing dynamic, saying she predicted a lot of laughter in the days to come.
It's great to see Zoraida in good health, but sadly, it looks like she has relatives who have been struggling. On Dec. 29, 2020, it was reported she has been absent from NBC 5 since late November, taking some time away from news work to care for a loved one undergoing surgery and monitoring her own health. Fans wish Zoraida's family a speedy recovery.