ABC's Robin Roberts Marks 1-Year Bone Marrow Transplant Anniversary with 'Birthday Wish'
Calling it her "one-year birthday wish," ABC's "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts is asking people to join the Be The Match Registry in celebration of the life-saving bone marrow transplant she received last September. This appeal for registry members, captured in a new public service announcement (PSA), is Roberts' latest effort to raise awareness about Be The Match , the nonprofit organization dedicated to helping patients with blood cancers like leukemia receive life-saving bone marrow and umbilical cord blood transplants.
The new PSA premiered on "GMA" on Sept. 20. It builds on a series of PSAs, outdoor advertisements and more that Roberts has embarked on since partnering with Be The Match in 2012.
Roberts began her crusade to recruit bone marrow donors shortly following her announcement on national television that she was battling myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and would need a bone marrow transplant to survive. Though her sister Sally-Ann was a perfect match, Roberts has worked tirelessly to raise awareness, hoping that other patients may find their perfectly matched donors.
These efforts have ignited an incredible, and unprecedented, outpouring of support for Be The Match, with tens of thousands of people joining the registry as potential bone marrow donors. To recognize Roberts for all that she has done to help blood cancer patients everywhere, Be The Match recently honored Roberts with its Rod Carew Leadership Awardan award reserved for individuals who have made a profound difference in the lives of patients and their families through their leadership and commitment to Be The Match's mission.
"I was fortunate to receive a life-saving bone marrow transplant from my sister. But when I learned about the great need for bone marrow donors, especially in the African American community, I knew there was an important message to spread," Roberts said in accepting the award via video on Sept. 21, during the sixth annualBe The Match Tribute fundraising event in Minneapolis. "I've been humbled by those people who've gone on to donate after hearing about my experiences, and it's an honor to receive an award that bears Rod's name and legacy."
Carew, the baseball Hall-of-Famer, has been a leading advocate for a diverse donor registry since losing his daughter, Michelle, to leukemia in 1996. No one in Michelle's family could provide a match, and their many efforts to find a suitable unrelated donor were unsuccessful.
"Robin is a symbol of leadership and courage. She overcame incredible obstacles and continues to advocate on behalf of blood cancer patients," said Jeffrey W. Chell, M.D., chief executive officer of Be The Match. "We are grateful for her support, amazed by her grace and honored to present her with the Rod Carew Leadership Award."