“Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts’ illness is helping bring more awareness to the need for bone marrow donors.
The national bone marrow donation registry has reported an increase in new registrants. The rate of new registrants has more than doubled since Ms. Roberts announced that she was suffering from myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), a blood and bone marrow disease where the bone marrow does not make enough normal blood cells for the body.
Roberts will be undergoing a bone marrow transplant, through a donation from her older sister, Sally-Ann Roberts. She had previously battled breast cancer in 2007.
Ms. Roberts shared that her mother told her to “turn a mess into a message,” saying: “When I received this latest disappointment I did not know what the message would be… and now I do.”
Be The Match CEO Jeffrey Chell revealed that since Roberts announced her diagnosis, around 15,000 people have registered; this figure is 11,200 more than what they would normally receive in the same period. Of these registrants, around 60 to 70 may be found to be a good match and donate some of their marrow to those who need a transplant.
Robin Roberts helped supervise a registry drive at the ABC News headquarters in Manhattan. Among those who were tested were ABC News President Ben Sherwood, George Stephanopoulos, and Lara Spencer.
Around 18,000 people develop MDS each year. It is a condition that can affect all blood cells, and may lead to such problems as anemia, infections, and bruising.