In the News

On Cancer: Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts Returns to Work after Treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering

By Jim Stallard, MA, Writer/Editor  |  Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Pictured: Robin Roberts & Tonya Samuel Robin Roberts (left), accompanied by nurse Tonya Samuel, as she was discharged from Memorial Sloan Kettering after a stem cell transplant.

Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts returned to the program today for the first time after receiving a stem cell transplant at Memorial Sloan Kettering in the fall of 2012 for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a disease that arises in the bone marrow due to a disorder of hematopoietic stem cells, the immature cells from which all blood cells develop.

“I am so full of gratitude,” Ms. Roberts said on the program. “There are so many people that I want to thank throughout the morning—my doctors and nurses and family and colleagues and people who have sat in this chair and those who have blazed the trail before me.”

As part of her treatment, Ms. Roberts was hospitalized for several weeks and is now being closely monitored and cared for as an outpatient by a team of doctors, nurses, and staff under the direction of Sergio A. Giralt, Chief of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Adult Bone Marrow Transplantation Service.

Participating in a Clinical Trial

Ms. Roberts thanked Dr. Giralt, who appeared on the program with her, for giving her the opportunity to take part in a clinical trial investigating better ways to prevent graft-versus-host disease, a complication of transplantation in which the donor cells recognize the recipient’s cells as foreign and attack them.

Dr. Giralt expressed his appreciation for her participation in the trial. “The standard treatments of today are developing because patients before you participated in clinical trials, and in a certain sense it’s our obligation as physicians and the patients of today to develop the standards of care for the patients of tomorrow,” he said.

In addition to thanking Dr. Giralt, Ms. Roberts expressed her gratitude toward the members of her Memorial Sloan Kettering nursing team, who were also present in the studio.

“Looking over at the nurses, the technicians — the passion and compassion that you have for all of your patients is admirable,” she said. “And people have given me a standing ovation — we need to give these people a standing ovation.”

More about Stem Cell Transplantation

Pictured: Nancie Simonet
Video

Nancie Simonet, who received a stem cell transplant at Memorial Sloan Kettering, discusses how she balanced a rigorous treatment with family and managing a restaurant, before eventually getting her life back.

(02:00)

Learn more about Ms. Roberts’s ongoing journey – including the perspective of Dr. Giralt – in a special edition of the ABC television newsmagazine 20/20, airing on Friday, February 22, at 10:00 PM ET. In addition, Ms. Roberts’s experience with the disease and her treatment is featured in the cover story of the February 25 issue of People magazine.

To learn more about stem cell transplantation, read a Q&A with experts on our Adult Bone Marrow Transplantation Service about the procedure, the recovery process, and becoming a donor.

And, watch the story of Nancie Simonet, who received a stem cell transplant at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Ms. Simonet and another one of our transplant recipients, Jennifer Jones Austin, were also featured on Good Morning America on February 18.

Comments

may God bless you Robin and may Jesus continue to heal you Amen

My son Jon received a Bone Marrow Transplant at Memorial Sloane Kettering. Jon is 100% Donor. Memorial Sloane Kettering Saved his life, thanks to the GREAT TEAM under Dr. Richard O'Reilly. My son Jon still goes there for Long Term Care. THIS IS THE GREATEST HOSPITAL IN THE WORLD!!!

I too was treated at MSK...in the fall of 2012..They are by far the best ...very caring and top notch dedication...

I was treated at MSK during July 2011 for 2 malignant neuroendocrine tumors that had blocked my bile ducts and last Wednesday(2/13/13) I was at MSK for the removal of 2 large fibroid tumors as well as a laproscopic hysterectomy. The doctors and staff there are the absolute best. They are so compassionate and dedicated. I was blessed to have the expertise of Dr. Kingham and Dr. Sonoda as well as Dr. Kingham's physician assistant Anna and Dr. Sonoda's staff. I am forever grateful and my best wishes go out to all the past, current and future patients at MSK.

My son and i were there for 6 months for a rare childhood cancer he had and they were all amazing! THANKS 5th floor (:

I had a bone marrow transplant in October of 2009. I was diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. My donor was an unrelated person from Germany. I am 100% cancer free and had minimal graft host desease. Sloane Kettering was the best choice I made. Dr Miquel Porales was the best. I owe my life to this hospital and there staff.

I had a bone marrow transplant in October of 2009. I was diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. My donor was an unrelated person from Germany. I am 100% cancer free and had minimal graft host desease. Sloane Kettering was the best choice I made. Dr Miquel Porales was the best. I owe my life to this hospital and there staff.

CONGRATULATIONS! Robin. MSKCC is the best of the best. My son, Christopher, had a stem cell transplant at age 27 in 2007 from a 100% donor but, unfortunately, he developed HVGD and could not survive. With all the pain and suffering he went through before his death, I am comforted to know that he had the best care at Sloane Kettering. Every nurse and doctor on the leukemia floor and transplant floor were loving and caring. I wish you continued success.

I had an autologous stem cell transplant as part of an experimental treatment for brain tumor at MSKCC back in 1999. I did have another tumor and surgery/radiation 8 years later, but that was my longest period of remission. The nurses on the BMT floor called me The Freak for how my body handled 0 WBCs. I loved that - it brought laughter - and besides, my immune system does seem freakishly strong.

I had a complete pelvic exteneration done @ Sloan in May of 2003. My chances before the surgery were zero, after, 16% I will celebrate my 10th year being cancer free on May 6th 2013. Thank you God, Sloan Kettering, Drs Patrick Boland, Philip B Paty & several others surgeons whose names I have forgotten as I have followed up with only the lead surgeons. The entire staff @ Sloan I have found to be compassionate, courteous & dedicated professionals.

... Prayers and blessings to Robin for sharing how "bowled over" she has been by the professional, and mostly -- very ethical care she has received at Sloan Kettering. I can similarly attest to the fine "Cancer Treatment" several of my close family, and friends have been given here, over the past decade. The entire facility must be in touch , with our "Divine Physician"! Special Thanks to Dr. Heather Landau, Nurse Jennifer for their very attentive care!

God bless Robin! MSK is by far, one of the best of the best! I have great admiration for all who work there, and when my son was a patient, he was treated, cured and well cared for by all the staff. Just a wonderful hospital, and one I would highly recommend.

It has been over a year since my transplant. The level of care I got at Sloan Kettering was and continues to be extraordinary. Thank you to Dr Jakubowski, Dr Jurcic and all the wonderful people who been there for me over the past year and a half. Life is sweet.

Dear Robin,
I am so thankful that you have a matched donor that made your transplant much easier,mand a success forbyou. I have kept up with you and your marvelous treatment and recovery, as everyone asks me if I have the same thing that you do. I can answer yes, but no. I also have MDS, but I do not have a matched donor,have 3 HLA antibodies, and have many other antibodies from getting blood products, and if that was not enough I also am allergic to several antibiotics, and cyclo-sporine. So, no transplant for me. I have currently been in the hospital for 60 days, getting Cytoxin, and other drugs. I came in the hospital very sick with a staff infection, low blood and other low counts, swelling in the extremities, water and blood blisters on the left leg. I woke up in the hospital at 5:30 pm on Thursday, Feb. 28th,,but the last that I remember is I:00pm, on Wednesday, feb. 27th,,after I did not show-up for a transfusion at Mercy Hospital, and the 2 women who run the infusion center went beyond their duties and responsibilities, and called my clinic and my family looking for me, and suggested that they be allowed to have the fire department real into m apartment, which they agreed to, and they found me laying on the floor in my living room by myself. In my eyes, they all are complete heroes. I am alive today because of their fast thinking,

I am so glad that you are doing better, and it helps makes me be stronger and work harder to stay alive more than ever. I hate this disease. I hate the fact that I had to give up my job as an auditor for The Defense Contract Audit Agency, and that being sick has eaten up all of my savings going to Houston to MD Anderson and with medical co-pays, until I do jot even have enough each month to live on, and I have given up my dream of ever having a home of my own. But, with all of that God has been good. I have 3 grown children, 2 married, 5 beautiful grandchildren, and lots of other friends and relatives. Life is still good, in fact at times it is great. Please keep fighting the good fight. I know that it is hard. This is a hard disease to fight, but you have some of the best doctors in the world working for you, and wish that I could afford to have them work for me. Remember in all things that God is good. Never, never, never give up. Meredith Kincaid

Dear Robin,
I am so thankful that you have a matched donor that made your transplant much easier,mand a success for you. I have kept up with you and your marvelous treatment and recovery, as everyone asks me if I have the same thing that you do. I can answer yes, but no. I also have MDS, but I do not have a matched donor,have 3 HLA antibodies, and have many other antibodies from getting blood products, and if that was not enough I also am allergic to several antibiotics, and cyclo-sporine. So, no transplant for me. I have currently been in the hospital for 60 days, getting Cytoxin, and other drugs. I came in the hospital very sick with a staff infection, low blood and other low counts, swelling in the extremities, water and blood blisters on the left leg. I woke up in the hospital at 5:30 pm on Thursday, Feb. 28th,,but the last that I remember is I:00pm, on Wednesday, feb. 27th,,after I did not show-up for a transfusion at Mercy Hospital, and the 2 women who run the infusion center went beyond their duties and responsibilities, and called my clinic and my family looking for me, and suggested that they be allowed to have the fire department real into m apartment, which they agreed to, and they found me laying on the floor in my living room by myself. In my eyes, they all are complete heroes. I am alive today because of their fast thinking,

I am so glad that you are doing better, and it helps makes me be stronger and work harder to stay alive more than ever. But, with all of that God has been good. I have 3 grown children, 2 married, 5 beautiful grandchildren, and lots of other friends and relatives. Remember in all things that God is good. Never, never, never give up. Meredith Kincaid

Hey Robin Hey I had Breast Cancer on the left Breast. I didn't get the Breast back on. Last June it was a year. I am soon going to get another Breast. I hope you are doing good. May God Bless You every Day A-Men Janice Marsh

Dear Robin,

I dont know why Im writing, guess I thought maybe it would help. My neice who is a wonderful 25 yr old HS science teacher is at Sloan Kettering. She is dying and my family is stricken with grief. she has a very rare liver cancer called fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma. This is so uncommon there is not much data or research av available. I can only pray now that a miracle will happen.I won't give up hope,she only has a few months to live. May God have mercy on my family! Im so glad to hear about your recovery!

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