By Jueseppi B.
This image released by ABC shows host Robin Roberts, center, with her sister Sally-Ann Roberts, right and ABC News’ Diane Sawyer on “Good Morning America” Monday, after Robin Roberts announced she has been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood and bone marrow disease once known as preleukemia.
“Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts said she is starting chemotherapy Monday for treatment of a disease that will require her to get a bone marrow transplant sometime this fall.
The chemotherapy is a preparatory treatment for the bone marrow transplant. Roberts said her sister is a good match and has agreed to donate bone marrow.
From Ms. Roberts:
Here we go again…
As many of you know, 5 years ago I beat breast cancer. I’ve always been a fighter, and with all of your prayers and support, a winner.
Sometimes the treatment for cancer can cause other serious medical problems. Today, I want to let you know that I’ve been diagnosed with MDS or myelodysplastic syndrome. It’s a disease of the blood and bone marrow and was once known as preleukemia.
My doctors tell me I’m going to beat this – and I know it’s true.
If you Google MDS, you may find some scary stuff, including statistics that my doctors insist don’t apply to me. They say I’m younger and fitter than most people who confront this disease and will be cured.
Today, I will start what is known as pre-treatment – chemotherapy in advance of a bone marrow transplant later this year. Bone marrow donors are scarce and particularly for African-American women. I am very fortunate to have a sister who is an excellent match, and this greatly improves my chances for a cure. As you know from my recent interview with Mark Zuckerberg, organ donation is vitally important. Many people don’t realize they can be bone marrow donors. I encourage everyone to sign up on a donor registry like bethematch.org.
I received my MDS diagnosis on the very day that Good Morning America finally beat the Today Show for the first time in 16 years. Talk about your highs and lows! Then a few weeks ago, during a rather unpleasant procedure to extract bone marrow for testing, I received word that I would interview President Obama the next day. The combination of landing the biggest interview of my career and having a drill in my back reminds me that God only gives us what we can handle and that it helps to have a good sense of humor when we run smack into the absurdity of life.
Bottom line: I’ve been living with this diagnosis for awhile and will continue to anchor GMA. I love what I do and the people with whom I do it. Along with my faith, family and friends, all of you at ABC News give me the motivation and energy to face this challenge.
Going forward, it’s business as usual at GMA, which means I’ll be right here every day with George, Sam, Josh and Lara. When I miss a day here or there, I’m fortunate that some very talented friends at ABC News will fill-in. When I undergo the transplant later this year, I’ll miss a chunk of time.
When I faced breast cancer, your prayers and good wishes sustained me, gave me such hope and played a major role in my recovery. In facing this new challenge, I ask humbly for more of your prayers and love – as I will keep you in my mine and update you regularly on my condition.
Love and blessings,
Roberts, 51, said she contracted the disease through her treatment for the breast cancer.
Between 80 percent and 90 percent of MDS patients develop it when they’re over age 60, according to the American Cancer Society. Roberts said there’s some “scary stuff” when you look up statistics about the disease, but ABC medical correspondent Dr. Richard Besser said these statistics don’t shed much light on Roberts’ case because she’s “young and incredibly healthy” in comparison to most people who contract the disease.
Roberts has been on “Good Morning America” for a decade, most recently teamed with George Stephanopoulos as co-anchor. The show has been doing well this spring in its ratings competition with NBC’s “Today” show.
She learned of her diagnosis on the same day that “Good Morning America” beat “Today” for a week in the ratings for the first time in more than 16 years, Roberts said. On a day some of her bone marrow was extracted for testing, Roberts learned she had landed an interview with President Barack Obama where the president revealed his support for gay marriage.
“The combination of landing the biggest interview of my career and having a drill in my back reminds me that God only gives us what we can handle and that it helps to have a good sense of humor when we run smack into the adversity of life,” she said.