GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Robin Roberts is returning to the anchor desk this morning on Good Morning America. She's been off the show for 6 months while she battled a rare blood disorder. Roberts had a bone marrow transplant to treat the disease.
Roberts says she has made a full recovery, giving the staff at GMA a reason to celebrate.
It's also a celebration for those involved in the blood and bone marrow registries around the country. Roberts has been very open about her illness and her fight to live. It has inspired others facing life threatening conditions and those who want to help.
"In the months following Robin Roberts' diagnosis over 56,000 people turned to the Be the Match registry and joined," said Kona Dominick, recruiter for Michigan Blood stem cell program. "When people are diagnosed with a life threatening illness people want to support them in some way. And this is a very positive way to show support putting yourself out there and saying 'you know what if I match a patient needing a transplant I would be willing to donate to them."
Roberts' condition was brought on by chemo therapy treatments she received 5 years ago as she battled breast cancer. After she was diagnosed with a blood disorder she became very vocal in encouraging people to donate bone marrow.
"In Robin's specific case she is a public figure and people love her so everybody wanted so support her in some way. She is now a great supporter of the Be the Match registry and blood donation as well. What she did was ask the public to please support patients like me. And, having that face connected it with patients in need and so people turned out and they are helping save lives," said Dominick.
Dominick says now that the beloved anchor is returning to work, she hopes people will continue to support bone marrow donation efforts.
"Just as Robin's life has been given a lot of hope and she has been given a lot of opportunity by her sister, she is one of the lucky ones. Again, 30% of patients find a match in their family. But, 70% of patients rely on the Be the Match Registry to find a match. So we are asking people. If you meet the age guidelines and you are healthy and you are willing please join because you will have the opportunity to save a life," said Dominick.
They are asking people, between the ages of 18 and 44 to sign up to join the national registry.
"It might not be today or tomorrow you get the call but it might be 10 years from now and you will direcly hlep save a person's life," said Dominick. "Also donate blood because patients receiving treatment receive blood products and that is a constant need so we ask people to continue to donate blood."
Michigan Blood will host a registry drive Monday, February 25th from 5pm to 9pm at the Mitten Brewing Company. It is located at 527 Leonard NW in Grand Rapids. For more information on joining the registry contact Kona Dominick at (616) 233-8516