Robin Roberts Breast Cancer Bone Marrow Transplant
June 2, 2014 by staff
Robin Roberts Breast Cancer Bone Marrow Transplant, Lucimarian Roberts, the mother of “Good Morning America” co-host Robin Roberts, has died a day after the anchor announced she was taking a medical leave for a bone marrow transplant.The 88-year-old Roberts died in Gulfport, Miss., on Thursday night, Jeffrey W. Schneider, senior vice president of ABC News, said Friday.The announcement of the death also was made on “GMA” on Friday morning.”Robin arrived home with her sister, Sally-Ann, forging through flooded and blocked roads to be with her beloved mother in time to see her,” GMA Senior Executive Tom Cibrowski said in an email to the entire news division Thursday evening.The Mississippi area was dealing with flooding from the effects of Hurricane Isaac.Over the years, Lucimarian Roberts made numerous appearances on “GMA.”She was a Gulf Coast icon for more than four decades. She often was the first black woman to work with organizations and state and local agencies, and she became known for her ability to get things done.
Robin Roberts’s Sister Is a Perfect Bone Marrow Match
It was the news that ripped Sally-Ann Roberts’s heart into pieces: Her younger sister, “Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts, had breast cancer. Years after Robin fought off the disease (and Sally-Ann did the happy dance), devastating news came again: The cancer was back, only this time it was in Robin’s blood. Sally-Ann, herself an anchorwoman, is about to help her sibling kick the big C’s ass by giving her the gift of a lifetime—a bone marrow donation. Read the edited version of our interview with Sally-Ann below
More: Many are calling you a hero.
Sally-Ann Roberts: I hear that, but no. I am a sister. Any sister would do this for a sister in need. This is a no-brainer as far as I am concerned.
More: Some people might not have the bond you and Robin have and step up to the plate to do this.
SAR: I feel sorry for people who are in that situation. My sisters, Dorothy and Robin, and I call each other the sisters three because we are a bond. Even our big brother, Butch, is a part of that bond. I can’t imagine what my life would be without them. They have been there for me during the terrible storms in my life. Now it is my turn to be there for them.
More: How did you know your bone marrow was a perfect fit for Robin?
SAR: I had a swab test of my DNA. The doctors were able to determine that on a 10-point scale, I matched every single point. Keep in mind Robin and I are not twins, and yet we matched up so perfectly.
More: Where did you do the test?
SAR: Robin brought them home. Let me add, we prayed over that kit. We knew going into this that only 25 percent find a match from a sibling. Most people have to go outside the family to find a match.
More: What was your reaction when you learned the results?
SAR: I screamed so loud, I think all of the neighbors heard me. We even had a thank-you prayer.
More: How are you holding up?
SAR: I am honored.
More: Were you aware of what this procedure entails before saying yes?
SAR: The doctors sent me a packet of information. I am told five days before the procedure I will be given injections to spur cell growth. Then I will be hooked up to a machine for three to five hours with a needle in each arm, and the machine will separate out the stem cells. After that, the transfusion will be given to Robin.
More: I thought it was a painful procedure.
SAR: There is some discomfort, but you are under an anesthesic, which numbs the pain. The one I am doing is similar to dialysis.
More: Are you scared?
SAR: I am not scared. I am anxious. I want this to happen yesterday. I want my sister to be well. I am ready for this procedure. I am ready for my sister to get this behind her. I just want Robin to take a breath and not think about this anymore.
More: Has Robin scheduled a date so you know when your procedure will be?
SAR: No. Robin has to get rid of the bad cells first while I need to focus on staying healthy. I feel like a pregnant woman—I am staying healthy for two now!
More: Take me back to the day your sister told you she had myelodysplastic syndrome [MDS].
SAR: It was a difficult day for me and my whole family. Robin has been through so much. Going through the chemo was both difficult and painful. She even lost her hair. But Robin is a fighter, and she never gives up. I watched in awe as she took off her wig and showed the world she was not ashamed to be bald. She wore this uniform with pride.
More: How is your mom doing?
SAR: My mother often says without a test there is no testimony. Robin has been through one test, and now she is about to go through another. She had a big testimony coming through breast cancer and beating that. Now she will have another huge testimony when she comes through this MDS and becomes an MDS survivor. [Editor's note: Robin Roberts's mother passed away on August 30, 2012, several months after this interview took place.]
More: You can go into remission if you are diagnosed with MDS?
SAR: We have been flooded with e-mails from MDS survivors who say it will get better. Right now Robin is just beginning the climb. I am here for her, as are our siblings and mother.
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