Daytime fans were devastated last fall when soap opera alum Robyn Griggs Wiley (Stephanie Hobart, One Life to Live; Maggie Cory, Another World) revealed that she had been diagnosed with stage four endocervical adeno, a type of cervical cancer that, in her case, doctors said would most likely be terminal. The situation was grim enough, but the actress then found herself in the unbelievable position of having to turn to fans and strangers for help with her mounting medical bills. It was enough to make even the strongest person fall apart, but Griggs Wiley shares that humankind came through for her in spades -- and thanks to the overwhelming support from her family, friends, and fans, she has been able to stay positive through her ongoing cancer battle.
The actress, who has since gone through many chemotherapy sessions and had a surgical procedure just before Christmas, spoke with Soap Central about her cancer journey and how she's managed to stay strong during such a trying situation. She also opened up about some of her experiences playing OLTL's Stephanie, a role she held from 1991 to 1992, and as AW's Maggie, which she played from 1993 to 1995. Check out her interview below and don't forget to leave her some well wishes in our Comments section at the end of the interview!
Soap Central: Your publicist shared with us that you were going in for cancer surgery just before Christmas, which must have been so scary for you and your family. How did it go, and what is your health status now?
Robyn Griggs Wiley: Actually, I think for myself and family, it was a miracle to even get to the point of surgery. When I was diagnosed, I was told I was terminal, so chemotherapy was the option and possible experimental medicine. So, this was a true blessing. They were able to remove all visible cancer, but I still have microscopic cancer that will be treated with chemotherapy and will be closely monitored. Scary, but still a miracle to be where I am at today.
Soap Central: You first revealed publicly that you were battling cervical cancer in October, which we reported along with the heartwarming news that you'd nearly made your Facebook fundraising goal to help with medical bills and other costs. What has the outpouring of love and support from the fans meant to you throughout your journey?
Griggs Wiley: The support from family, fans, and friends was overwhelmingly uplifting. When I was diagnosed, I cried and was so stressed over bills, etcetera, that this just helped me heal even more. It's bad enough to be diagnosed, but to be afraid to ask for help through a fundraiser was really scary -- I'm proud and never ask unless it's major. The prayers made me keep going. The overwhelming response and support was wonderful. My husband and my little dog, Ralphie, have been really amazing at home. I'm truly blessed with wonderful people surrounding me.
Soap Central: I feel like I would absolutely fall apart in your circumstances, but you seem to be so strong! What, besides the fans, has kept you positive and in good fighting spirit?
Griggs Wiley: I absolutely have moments where I fall apart, but that is also what makes me strong. I believe [it helps] if, before you go to sleep, to find something that made you smile that day, that made the day worthwhile. And that keeps me going. Be human, cry, but remember that doesn't define you.
Soap Central: What have you learned about yourself through these trying times?
Griggs Wiley: I learned so many things. I can be strong, I can keep fighting, and I will continue to do so. I also learned how stupid I was not going to the doctor for checkups! It's so important to do this and to get the HPV vaccine -- very important. I beg all of you to look into it. I don't want anyone to go through this.
Soap Central: Are you well enough to work again, and if so, do you have any plans to return to acting? Once the pandemic is over, of course...
Griggs Wiley: I would love to act again. I'm ready for someone to call me with the chance to! It's my passion and would make healing easier, too.
Soap Central: Your first soap role was on One Life to Live alongside talented actors like Erika Slezak (Victoria Lord), Thom Christopher (Carlo Hesser), Tonja Walker (Alex Olanov), etc. Do you have any fun memories that you can share of working with them?
Griggs Wiley: I loved working with them all! So many learning experiences. I remember I was so star-struck when I worked with Thom Christopher -- he was Hawkman on Buck Rogers. My favorite was Phil Carey [Asa Buchanan]. We had a great connection. He had such a dry humor. He will be missed.
Soap Central: What did you love about playing Stephanie and the storylines you were given?
Griggs Wiley: I think Stephanie taught me so much. I was a deer in headlights, but I eventually got comfortable. I learned to cry on cue and roll with the punches.
Soap Central: What did you think about the way Stephanie's final storyline evolved? (She fled to Mexico after killing Carlo, but years later, it was revealed that the bullets were blanks, and he didn't really die!) And what do you think Stephanie would be up to today?
Griggs Wiley: I think Stephanie would be up to no good! I would love to play her again and return to one of the shows and stir up some fun trouble.
Soap Central: So, you would consider a return to daytime?
Griggs Wiley: Absolutely, I would love to! I'm ready to go back. Pass that on to the shows for me! [Laughs]
Soap Central: You also had the pleasure of starring on Another World. What do you remember most from your time as Maggie and working with the AW cast?
Griggs Wiley: Maggie was basically me -- I played myself, and I was able to sing on the show, too. The cast was [filled with] top-notch actors and actresses; every moment I felt blessed. Charles Keating [Carl Hutchins] and I had a wonderful connection, and it showed on screen. I miss him so much. I always told him that he was my Sean Connery.
Soap Central: Is there anything else that you'd like to add that I didn't ask you about?
Griggs Wiley: I'd like to say a special thank you to my amazing team of doctors: Dr. Rosados, Dr. Yamada, Dr. Ellen Roy -- you all are amazing and believed in me. I'll never forget them, my heroes. To my family: we stick together through everything, and our bond never breaks. Love you all! To my husband, Mark, and my dog, Ralphie: I love you and thank you for your help. I couldn't do it without you. I know I'm a pain, but I appreciate your love and tolerance. Plus, I just know you're having a fun time waiting on me. [Laughs] Just kidding! And to my fans and friends: you keep me smiling and make my days easier. Thank you so much for your prayers and support. And thanks to my publicist, Lisa Rodrigo: your help with getting my words out there, thank you so much. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it.
*Editor's Note: Following our interview with Griggs Wiley, the actress shared on Instagram that she has resumed chemotherapy following surgery in which doctors removed her appendix as well as carried out a hysterectomy. "I'm pretty worn out but staying positive and happy things are progressing," she wrote along with a link to her current fundraising page. "I appreciate all your support and please keep me in your prayers."
What do you think about our interview with Robyn Griggs Wiley? Would you like to leave her a message of support and encouragement? What are your favorite memories from her time playing OLTL's Stephanie and AW's Maggie? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.