According to TMZ, Robin Roberts, co-anchor at “Good Morning America,” will began her medical leave to undergo bone marrow transplant surgery on August 24, 2012. Her sister is the bone marrow donor.
In July 2012, Roberts announced she was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a blood and bone marrow disease. According to the National Cancer Institute, the bone marrow normally makes immature blood stem cells that become mature blood cells over time. A blood stem cell may turn into a myeloid stem cell or a lymphoid stem cell. A lymphoid stem cell becomes a white blood cell.
A myeloid stem cell matures into one of three categories of mature blood cells: (1) red blood cells that carry oxygen and other substances to all tissues of the body; (2) white blood cells that fight infection and disease, or (3) platelets that form blood clots to stop bleeding. In myelodysplastic syndromes, the blood stem cells do not become healthy red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets. The immature blood cells do not function properly and either die in the bone marrow or soon following entrance into the blood. This leaves less room for healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets to form in the bone marrow. When there are fewer blood cells, infection, anemia, or bleeding may happen. Age and past treatment with chemotherapy or radiation therapy increases the risk of myelodysplastic syndrome.
Roberts stated the procedure was scheduled for August 28, 2012, and reported she planned to return to work after her recovery. TMZ previously reported, “Good Morning America” planned to use a roster of star-studded substitutes to fill in for Roberts while she was on leave. TMZ was told each substituted will sit in Roberts’ chair for a full week, and producers will approach Diane Sawyer, Charlie Gibson, Barbara Walters, Chris Cuomo, Connie Chung, and Joan Lunden.
According to Prevention, Roberts is a breast cancer survivor. She found her lump in her forties and in a self-exam in 2007. Roberts underwent surgery, and six days later it was announced by ABC News that Roberts planned to return to the anchor desk. When she returned, she wore a wig on Good Morning America because she “didn’t want to distract viewers from the news,” according to her biography on Wikipedia.
Roberts attended Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana, graduating in 1983 with a degree in communication. Roberts began her broadcasting career in 1983 as a sports anchor and reporter for WDAM-TV in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She joined ESPN as a sportscaster in February 1990 and began to work for ABC News as a featured reporter for Good Morning America in June 1995. In 2005, Roberts became co-anchor of Good Morning America.