The morning-news anchor on Tuesday revealed her own struggle with breast cancer, and her plans for a double mastectomy later this month, after seeing Jolie's brave piece in The New York Times.
"This inspired me to talk," Sambolin, 47, told PEOPLE shortly after making her revelation on the air during CNN's coverage of Jolie's announcement. "When we went into the story, it felt right to share it."
Courtesy Zoraida Sambolin
"I have two beautiful kids," she said. "I want to live for them. You would cut off any appendage to see them grow up."
Sambolin says she's grateful to Jolie for giving her a way to open up to viewers about her upcoming leave of absence. "I didn't want anyone feeling sorry for me," she says. "I didn't want to be emotional wreck on air. I tried to figure out the best way. Then when I saw this, I thought, 'Wow, okay.' "
Reporting by CHARLOTTE TRIGGS