After growing up in Mississippi and attending Southeastern Louisiana University, Robin Roberts was a sports anchor for local TV and radio stations.
Roberts was a sportscaster on ESPN for 15 years (1990–2005).
She became co-anchor on Good Morning America in 2005. It was that time during Good Morning America that the whole world would see what Robin was made of.
Robin Roberts Cancer
In 2007, Robin was diagnosed with breast cancer, and underwent surgery, chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation therapy, bravely returning to work only a couple of weeks after an operation.
“I was living happily ever after, with no family history of cancer, and found a lump in my right breast,” explains Roberts. “Thankfully, I had done self-exams, and so I realized that this lump was different and I needed to have it examined. The mammogram came back perfect, but my doctor had also put in a prescription for a follow-up ultrasound, and that’s how the tumor was detected. Then I had a needle biopsy, which determined that it was cancerous.”
“With more testing, it was determined to be triple-negative breast cancer. I had never heard that term, and I was bewildered. Plus, I was told that, as an African-American woman, I was less likely to be diagnosed with cancer, but now that I was, I was more likely to die from it. What in heck do you do with that stat?”
Her Rare Blood Disorder
If that wasn’t enough, just five years after her breast cancer, Roberts was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder and had to undergo a bone marrow transplant. That’s when became an inspiration to millions.
“I learned when I was first diagnosed with MDS that many in the transplant community consider the anniversary of their bone marrow transplant to be their new birthday,” Robin said.
READ: What Is MDS?
Robin, 60, underwent the transplant on Sept. 20, 2012.
She was injected with a syringe carrying cells donated by her sister Sally-Ann, according to Dr. Gail Roboz, an oncologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Robin Roberts Faces Another Diagnosis
Roberts revealed that same year in June that she had been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). It’s a bone marrow disorder triggered by treatment for breast cancer over five years ago.
The breast cancer survivor recalled a moment when she felt like she was dying. Her doctor warned of the feeling. “I was in a pain I had never experienced before, physically and mentally,” said Roberts.