Maria Menounos Reveals Her Surprising Inspiration Before Brain Surgery

Before having surgery for a brain tumor in June, Maria Menounos got some inspiration and strength from a surprising source.

The E! News coanchor, who underwent surgery at Cedars-Sinai Hospital for a golf-ball-size meningioma brain tumor, shared on Instagram that a young boy she met at the Runway to Hope event helped calm her nerves before the procedure.

“Isaiah was my inspiration going into brain surgery. I met him while hosting the @runwaytohope event for childhood cancer just before my surgery,” the 39-year-old shared. “He already has endured 28 brain surgeries. I pulled him aside and asked him if he got scared before surgery. He thought for a second and said no. I knew god put him in my path for a reason. What an inspiration he is. I was so grateful to be part of this special charity that helps families who are struggling.”

Although Menounos’ tumor was benign and she’s on the mend, she asked fans to keep her mother, Litsa Menounos, who is battling stage IV brain cancer, in their thoughts and prayers.

Maria Menounos Litsa Menounos
Maria Menounos and her mother Litsa Menounos attend the Kick Off for Golden Globes Week 2012 hosted by Audi and Martin Katz at Cecconi's Restaurant on January 8, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. John Shearer/WireImage.com

“Luckily I don’t need any further treatments but I can’t say the same about my mom,” she wrote in another Instagram post on July 4, in which she is kissing her mother’s head. “So please keep her in your prayers.”

Menounos has decided to step away from cohosting E! News amid her health scare. “I want to start a family,” Menounos, who is engaged to Keven Undergaro, said during a Today show interview, which aired on Monday. “You realize really quickly that when something like this happens that nothing else matters.”

“For me, I saw it as a huge blessing and a huge gift because I needed to change my life,” she said, crying. “We’re caretakers as women and we help everybody and we put ourselves last always. And I don’t think — at least for me — I guess I realized I didn’t value myself in a lot of ways. And so I think that that was a really important lesson.”

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