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/ Source: TODAY
By Scott Stump

Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager are celebrating their besties!

Karen Swensen has been such a cherished friend for Hoda and Ferrell Fields for Jenna because they're not just there for the smile-filled good times like the one they all shared together on the inaugural Best Friend Friday on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna.

They also have been by each other's sides through miscarriages, cancer and other difficult periods when their support was more important than ever.

"I think, like, you need constants in your life,'' Hoda said on TODAY. "You need to have certain things that are like a rock, and Karen's a rock. I know no matter what, if I pick up the phone and call Karen, she'd come."

Hoda and Swensen have been friends since they first met in 1994 when they were working at WWL-TV, a CBS affiliate in New Orleans, where Hoda was an anchor and Swensen was a researcher. Swensen is now an anchor at the station.

Hoda and Karen in their early days of friendship!

"Hoda's best quality as a friend her unfailing optimism,'' Swensen said. "And no matter what, she is going to find that silver lining."

Jenna and Fields go back even further to when they both were only 10 years old and met for the first time at Camp Longhorn in Texas.

"Every milestone in my life, she's shared,'' Jenna said on TODAY.

"She's giving. She's always there for me whenever I need her. She's just an incredible friend,'' Fields said.

Jenna met Ferrell at camp when she was just 10 years old!TODAY

Hoda, 54, remembers Swensen, 50, being right by her side when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in her early 40s and vowing to help her beat the disease.

"When I got sick with cancer, Karen was the one who was with me from the beginning,'' Hoda said. "She just made it clear what our plan was. Like,'We're gonna beat this, we're gonna take care of it, and we're gonna move on.'''

Hoda was also there for Swensen to lean on when Swensen's husband of 18 years, New Orleans homicide detective John Ronquillo, died at 64 from cancer last year.

"Hoda has lifted me up during my darkest hours,'' Swensen said. "She was the first person I called when we got my husband's diagnosis and the first person I called when he passed.

"At one point, insurance wasn't covering my husband's medication and she helped us and he lived five more years. She's the best."

The two have also had plenty of joyous times together, whether it was Hoda celebrating Swensen's 50th birthday last month, or Swensen being with Hoda on the day she first became a mother to adopted daughter Haley Joy, who celebrated her second birthday in February.

"To have seen her embrace Haley Joy the first time was one of the happiest moments of my life,'' Swensen said.

Fields has also been there for Jenna during the emotional times, as well as joyous ones like the day she met her husband, Henry Hager, and the birth of Jenna's two daughters, Mila and Poppy.

"She's been there when I've gone through miscarriages and been there when I've had successful births,'' Jenna said. "When I went into labor with Mila early, she called Henry a thousand times."

Jenna also has that ability that all BFFs have of knowing just when to reach out when the other person may be feeling down.

"I was going through a really kind of tough time, and I hadn't talked to her in a couple weeks, and all of a sudden a pair of monkey pajamas just showed up on my front porch,'' Fields said. "It's like she knows when I need her.

"I think that's a very endearing quality about her."

The chemistry between the best friends was clearly on display on TODAY Friday as they shared laughs and compliments. Hoda summed up the feeling for everyone when talking about Swensen.

"Having Karen Swensen as my best friend means that I have a partner to go through life until the end,'' she said. "I'm all hers, she's all mine, and we are all ours."