Describing her life today, Roberts said, “I am thriving, healthy, strong and eternally grateful for life.”
On this day in 2012, Roberts, a breast cancer survivor, underwent a bone marrow transplant to treat myelodysplastic syndrome or MDS, a rare blood disorder. She received the transplant after undergoing 10 days of extensive chemotherapy.
“It’s considered to be a rebirth,” Roberts said of the transplant. “And I definitely felt that I was getting another chance at life.”
Roberts received donor cells from one of her three siblings, Sally Ann Roberts, who joined the celebration of her sister’s “birthday” on “GMA.”
“I’m so grateful to be here five years later to see you, Robin, just beaming with health,” she said.
Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News’ former chief medical editor and now president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, also returned to “GMA” to celebrate Roberts’ anniversary. Roberts called Besser her “North Star” for his help guiding guiding her through her bone marrow transplant and recovery.
“When I reflect back on that time, what you gave to all of us through letting us see your journey, the highs and the lows,” Besser said. “Letting us see your strength, that gave courage to people all over the country, all over the world.”
Besser said Roberts’ public journey also let people see the important role caregivers play in the medical field.
“You can’t get a transplant unless you have a caregiver who is willing to be there 24-7,” he said. “It takes a person who’s got love but may not have medical experience and turns them into a medical professional whose job is to keep you safe.”
Amber Laign, Roberts’ partner, shared her personal perspective of what she went through as Roberts’ caregiver.
“I learned so much every day just being there and being [there] every step of the way,” she said. “You’re being thrown information and you’re trying to keep it all together.”
Laign offered advice to other caretakers, saying, “You have to take care of yourself … during the days, in your every day life, if you exercise, go to the gym, find a yoga studio. Do something so you can just release all of this…