When her younger sister was in need, Sally-Ann answered the call. Ms. Roberts, a longtime co-anchor at Eyewitness Morning News on WWL-TV in New Orleans, supported her sister, Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts, who needed a bone marrow transplant. Officially declared to be in remission from breast cancer in 2007, Robin was exhilarated to begin her life again. But, by March 2012, she experienced progressive bone marrow failure caused by her cancer treatment and was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), also known as pre-leukemia. MDS is characterized by abnormal hematopoietic stem cells, anemia and neutropenia, all significant blood deficiencies. With this dire diagnosis, Robin’s doctors gave her less than two years to live; her only hope was a bone marrow transplant.
In addition to MDS, more than 70 disorders can be treated with bone marrow transplantation, with nearly half of the 50,000 bone marrow transplants performed around the world each year requiring a donor. Today, there are more than 20 million voluntary bone marrow donors worldwide.
Fortunately, Sally-Ann was a perfect donor match for Robin. In the summer of 2012, Sally-Ann underwent a minor procedure and had some f her stem cells withdrawn. Robin soon received the transplant containing Sally-Ann’s concentrated bone marrow cells. Four years later, Robin is now healthy, happy and forever grateful for the kindness of her older sister, Sally-Ann. Following Robin’s transplant, Sally-Ann has become a prominent organ and bone marrow donor advocate. She has also co-founded the Each One Save One, a local mentorship program dedicated to empowering children in New Orleans, where she lives with her family.