Maria Menounos Obtains Greek Citizenship, Signs Up for Athens Marathon After Secret Battle with Pancreatic Cancer

In May, the "Heal Squad" podcast host revealed exclusively to PEOPLE that she had undergone treatment for stage 2 pancreatic cancer

karabatsispavlos / BACKGRID
karabatsispavlos / BACKGRID

Maria Menounos will be lacing up her running shoes in November.

The former E! News correspondent traveled to Greece, where she registered for the 40th Authentic Athens Marathon later this year. She also obtained Greek citizenship and is now a dual citizen of Greece and the United States.

Her goal to finish a marathon in her family's country of origin comes after Menounos, 44, told PEOPLE earlier this year that she had been privately battling stage 2 pancreatic cancer. Diagnosed in January, she underwent a successful surgery to remove a 3.9-cm. tumor and is now on a mission to encourage others to seek answers to their health problems.

Host of the podcast "Heal Squad," she wants to preserve her health more than ever now that she is about to become a mom. After years of trying to conceive, she and husband Keven Undergaro will welcome a baby girl via surrogate over the summer.

"Just after a decade of trying everything, we are so grateful to the beautiful family helping us conceive our baby," the mom-to-be told PEOPLE in February. "Keven, my dad and I are all beyond excited for this soul to come into our lives. What a blessing."

Amanda Friedman
Amanda Friedman

Related:Maria Menounos Reveals She Survived Pancreatic Cancer — with a Baby on the Way

While staying healthy has always been a priority for Menounos, she has faced other health battles in the past, having been diagnosed and treated for a benign brain tumor in 2017 and then learning she had diabetes.

"I was feeling so good, and then I got slapped in the face with a new diagnosis," Menounos told PEOPLE at the time. A trip to the hospital revealed she had type 1 diabetes, which runs in her family. She was prescribed insulin, went on a strict diet, began monitoring her glucose levels and dramatically improved.

By October, "I was crushing it," says Menounos, who still takes insulin daily and wears a glucose monitor, "I felt so good. What else could go wrong?" But a month later she was back in the hospital, this time "with excruciating abdominal pain coupled with diarrhea."

Related:Who Is Maria Menounos' Husband? All About Keven Undergaro

When the pain continued, she did a whole-body MRI which revealed the mass on her pancreas, with a subsequent biopsy confirming that it was a Stage 2 pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor, a form of cancer.

Given the early stage at which she caught it, Menounos was given a good prognosis and on Feb. 16 she underwent surgery to remove the tumor along with part of her pancreas, her spleen, a large fibroid and 17 lymph nodes. "It was super painful," she says of the medical ordeal and her recuperation. "I couldn't move or lift myself up."

Months later, she has healed and only needs to undergo scans once every 5 years. "I'm so grateful and so lucky," she said.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.