Serena Williams Opens Up About Close Friend’s Cancer Diagnosis

Serena Williams acknowledged her friend’s cancer diagnosis in a recent Instagram post.

Sports Illustrated recently profiled physical therapist, Esther Lee, who has treated Serena and her sister, Venus, as well as a professional snowboarder, Shaun White over the years. After not feeling well for some time, she found out in 2020 that she had Stage IV pancreatic cancer.

The article discusses her battle with the disease and that she is now in a reverse role. Instead of taking care of others, she is being taken care of.

@estalee11 has been by my side for many years, and it was an honor to do the same for her after the devastation of her pancreatic cancer diagnoses,” Williams wrote in an Instagram post.

“This @sportsillustrated story gives you a glimpse into the wildly fearless and brave road to recovery, and the many people she has inspired along the way. I couldn’t be more grateful to call her my friend.”

Lee responded: “I am humbled by all the unexpected love returned to me. @shaunwhite and @serenawilliams thank you for switching roles with me to be my caretakers in my time of need.

Thank you @sportsillustrated for allowing me to share my story to encourage and inspire during life’s moments of darkness, discomfort and fear.


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A post shared by Esther Lee (@estalee11)

Williams told Sports Illustrated that when she was hospitalized for blood clots and a pulmonary embolism after her ankle surge,. Lee slept in a chair beside Williams’ hospital bed.

“She never left my side,” the tennis legend said.

“And I never asked for that. That meant a lot to me…She is such a caretaker. And beyond anything that I’ve ever seen, beyond anything you could write in a job description.”

Williams also said Lee is “a wonderful, wonderful therapist. So good at what she was doing, and always taking different courses and learning more and more and more, and just wanted to make sure that she was the best she could be.”


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