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

by Ilyssa Panitz • Celebrity Reporter
sally-ann roberts image

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.

Share Your Thoughts!


Maricia Johns09.11.2012

Here is an article that talks about the power of sisterly love. Take a look and enjoy.

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