CREATED Sep. 13, 2012 - UPDATED: Sep. 13, 2012
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Who is the real Ann Romney?
During a tour of the Regional Cancer Center in Fort Myers today, the potential future first lady took some time to sit down, one on one with our Emily Dishnow. The only catch: all policy and politics were off the table.
“Passionate, sympathetic and kind.” Those are the three words Ann uses to describe herself.
“My heart just grows out of me when I see people who are going through such difficulties.” Mrs. Romney said.
Difficulties to which she can personally relate. Just before Thanksgiving 1998, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
“I say that MS was a cruel teacher, and it was because…it beat me down, it really did, it just beat me right down to the dust. And yet
I stood right back up and I fought back and how I left was much stronger but also much more compassionate.” Mrs. Romney says.
But her health struggles didn't end there, ten years later, she would face another diagnosis: breast cancer.
“You go through life not expecting to get socked in the gut like that and twice for that to happen to me I’m like ‘Are you kidding? What’s next?’” Ann said. “I want people to understand that Mitt's been by my side through all these hard times.”
Ann and Mitt met in grade school, and married when she was 19, he was 22. Together they would raise 5 boys.
But marriage, Ann says, hasn't always been easy. “Of course you run into rough spots, and of course we ran into rough spots in our marriage. And I think the hardest part of our marriage was really dealing with my health.”
But they stuck together, and Ann says, today they’re stronger than ever.
“You talk about Mitt standing by your side in tough times, what do you think the secret is to a long lasting marriage?” Emily asks.
“Good sense of humor, being able to laugh,” Ann says.
Emily asked Mrs. Romney the one thing often misconstrued about her. Ann says it's people may be thinking that as a politician’s wife, she's not connected or that she doesn't care what people are suffering from.