Robin Roberts Celebrates 10 Years of Life-Saving Bone Marrow Transplant: How to Donate with Be The Match

Robin Roberts is no stranger to adversity. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and five years later with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a rare blood disorder that affects the bone marrow. Luckily, her sister Sally-Ann was a near-perfect match, and on September 20, 2012, she received a successful bone marrow transplant.

When Roberts returned to her Good Morning America family on February 20, 2013, she was given the opportunity to have her mess up her message. She shared intimate details about her life-threatening illness, documented in the Peabody Award-winning ABC News special “Robin’s Journey” to help educate and inform millions, and potentially save thousands of lives.

Over the past decade, Roberts and “GMA” have continued to widely report on blood stem cell transplants, which can treat or cure over 75 different diseases, and spread the word about the importance of the Be The Match registry, a non-profit organization run by the National Bone Marrow Donor Program that operates the largest the world’s bone marrow donor registry.

To continue raising awareness of the bone marrow roster, GMA is partnering with Be The Match on our One Match, Second Chance series from September 20 to February 20 to continue raising awareness and helping save lives. Learn how to take the first step to register to become a donor today.

At least 26,812 people have been added to the bone marrow registry and 140 people have received life-saving bone marrow donation through these reports over the years, according to Be the Match.

While Roberts had a perfect match in her own family, approximately 70% of patients do not have a matching donor in their family and must go to registries like Be The Match for their treatment. The likelihood of a patient having a matched available donor in the Be The Match registry ranges from 29% to 79%, depending on the ethnicity of the patient.

Now more than ever, the need is urgent, and the statistics are staggering. Be The Match reports that regional and national recruitment efforts have dropped 36% in the midst of the pandemic. Be The Match also reports that only 50% of people on the roster will donate if they are a match for a patient in need. Be The Match focuses on younger donors under the age of 40, as studies have shown that younger donors help improve overall patient outcomes.

Stay tuned to learn more about life-saving donations and bone marrow transplants and how you can make a difference.

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