Robert Robinson and Dr. John Fortunato met under incredibly difficult circumstances.

When Robert’s daughter, Angel, started rapidly losing weight, doctors incorrectly believed an eating disorder was to blame.

But on one visit to the hospital, Dr. Fortunato discovered a rare stomach tumor.

Angel, Robert and Serenity Robinson in Hawaii on January 22, 2023. Courtesy of Robert Robinson. 

Despite multiple rounds of treatment, Angel died at the age of 15 in August, 2023. One of their final wishes was that their story serve to help other patients be heard when seeking treatment. 

Serenity, Robert and Angel Robinson in Chicago, Illinois in September 2019. By Kylie Kreations, courtesy of Robert Robinson.

Robert and Dr. Fortunato have forged a lasting bond and continue to support each other in their efforts to honor Angel’s legacy.

They came to StoryCorps to reflect on the impact the experience had on both of them. 

Top Photo: Robert Robinson and Dr. John Fortunato at their StoryCorps interview in Chicago, Illinois on October 30, 2023. By Jeb Backe for StoryCorps.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired February 2, 2024, on NPR’s Morning Edition.