How to become a bone marrow donor: Celebrating Robin Roberts

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Tuesday, February 21, 2023
Shirleen Alicott interviews Robin Roberts on the 10th anniversary of bone marrow transplant
Shirleen Alicott interviews "Good Morning America's" Robin Roberts on the 10th anniversary of her bone marrow transplant.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- On Tuesday, Robin Roberts celebrates 10 years since her return to Good Morning America after a life-saving bone marrow transplant.

Every three minutes, someone is diagnosed with blood cancer or blood disease, but a cure exists.

You could "be the match" that helps a patient get the life-saving marrow transplant they need.

HOW TO BECOME A BONE MARROW DONOR: Be The Match or text GMA to 61474.

Eyewitness News was live at Hofstra University Tuesday morning where students took part in a nationwide bone marrow drive to celebrate Robin's anniversary.

Shirleen Allicot reports from Hofstra as people join the Be the Match registry in honor of Robin Robert's successful bone marrow transplant 10 years ago.

Shirleen spoke to a graduate student who donated bone marrow about her experience:

Shirleen Allicot speaks to Hofstra Graduate Student Adriana Babak who donated bone marrow.

Also, if you are wondering what you would need to do if called to be a donor, Shirleen spoke to "Be the Match" CEO Amy Ronneberg about the process:

Shirleen Allicot speaks to the CEO of Be the Match Amy Ronneberg about bone marrow donation.

Despite the fact that it wasn't a school day, Hofstra students came out in force to join the registry. Organizer Rodean had a lot to do with that and helped put together a very important event.

Shirleen Allicot speaks to organizers and Hofstra students as they join the 'Be the Match' registry in honor of Robin Roberts.

It was a decade ago that Robin faced a fierce battle for survival against myelodysplastic syndrome - MDS. News of the rare blood disorder that affects the bone marrow coming 5 years after beating breast cancer.

She received a life-saving bone marrow transplant from her dear sister Sally-Ann.

During an interview with Eyewitness News anchor Shirleen Allicot, Robin reflected on what the last 10 years has meant to her.

"You know, I haven't really taken time because I've been so focused on the 10 years and showing the growth of the treatment and the people who have been impacted by our viewers responding to the call to be the match, that I really haven't taken the time until this moment to think about me and what this moment means to me," she said. "I am grateful that my mama taught me make your mess your message and that I have been able to find the meaning behind why this was placed in my path."

ALSO READ| NJ family advocating for bone marrow registry after leukemia diagnosis

The Keegan family advocates for Be The Match and educates people on the importance of joining the donor registry. Anthony Johnson has the story.

Now, the survivor turned thriver is working hard to make sure others get the same chance, continuing her advocacy to build the registry of donors for "Be the Match."

"I was very, very blessed. That one of my three siblings SallyAnn was a match. It was a perfect match," she said. "Now you leapfrog 10 years later, you don't need a perfect match. Now back 10 years ago, you did. That's the technology. That's the growth that we've seen in these last 10 years. 20:18 But the registry is a literal life lived for countless people."

About 70% of patients are still looking for their donor, and you could be the potential match to save someone's life.

All it takes is a simple sign-up and a swab.

If you're interested in joining the "Be the Match" registry follow the link and begin the registration process.

WATCH | The complete interview with Robin Roberts

Robin Roberts sits down with WABC-TV anchor Shirleen Allicot to discuss her life-saving bone marrow transplant a decade ago

ALSO READ | 2 sisters with rare disease highlight need for bone marrow transplants

Stacey Sager has more on a family on Long Island with two young girls that both need a bone marrow transplant.

ALSO WATCH | Hofstra holds registration drive to support bone marrow donations

On Tuesday, Robin Roberts celebrated 10 years since her return to Good Morning America after a life-saving bone marrow transplant. Darla Miles has more on how Hofstra students celebrated that anniversary at their school.


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