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Robin Roberts: A Heartfelt Thank You
After facing her fears over MDS, a life-threatening blood disease, Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts is back and better than ever, and featured in this Sunday’s PARADE. Ever resilient, Roberts has come through her harrowing yearlong ordeal—which included chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant—with gratitude toward her family, her friends, her medical team, and the fans who prayed for her.
Read highlights from her PARADE cover story below, and be sure to check out this weekend's issue in your local newspaper for the full interview.
“I feel now more than ever that my life has purpose,” Roberts tells PARADE. “ I think that I am being used for light and love and resilience.”
Integral to her support team were her doctors: Dr. Gail Roboz, a leukemia specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, and Dr. Sergio Giralt, a specialist in bone marrow transplants at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. “Talk about a dream team,” says Roberts. Dr. Giralt not only cried but also prayed during her transplant. “I love a doctor who can respect that there’s somebody else on your team, and that’s God,” she says.
Also key were her coworkers, particularly ABC medical correspondent Dr. Richard Besser and good friend Diane Sawyer (“She puts her life on hold when someone close to her is going through something like this”). The threesome researched treatments and doctors while keeping Roberts’s illness a secret at ABC News for nearly six weeks. GMA weatherman Sam Champion and coanchor Josh Elliott visited her in the hospital, bringing her shaggy green slippers with frog faces that “took on a life of their own,” says Roberts, whose friends then bought them in solidarity. “Oprah still wears them,” she says. Sawyer and Champion were with her when she had her bone marrow transplant.
Roberts sees this group as far more than simply colleagues. “People call them colleagues, and I’m like, ‘Colleagues don’t come to your room when you’re about to be reborn. These are the people that you love, who are close to you.’ They’re family to me.”
Her family was there when she needed them—her sister Sally-Ann was a “perfect” bone marrow donor, according to Dr. Giralt. But her sister was startled when Robin asked, “Do you want to do this?” Sally-Ann tells PARADE, “I was really surprised at how difficult it was for her to be the one in need.” Roberts, the baby of the family, admits that her sister is right. “I want to be the giver,” she says. “It’s been very hard for me but very enlightening to understand what it’s like to be on the receiving end.”
Robin Roberts’s candor about her illness has sparked an impressive response: 56,000 people signed up to be potential donors after she announced her diagnosis. “I feel now more than ever that my life has purpose,” she says. “I think that I am being used for light and love and resilience. For whatever reason, I’m able to touch people, and I’m so grateful for that.”
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