Thriving after Blood and Marrow Transplants: MSK’s 22nd Annual Celebration

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More than 200 people who have received blood and marrow transplants at Memorial Sloan Kettering gathered to take part in MSK’s 22nd annual Celebration for Blood and Marrow Transplant Survivors/Thrivers.

They partied alongside family, friends, donors, caregivers, and staff at MSK’s Zuckerman Research Center. This year’s event shifted focus slightly, celebrating not just surviving transplantation, but thriving by living full, healthy lives.

That change in emphasis came on the advice of many MSK transplant recipients who attended the yearly fete, including Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts. She joined this tight-knit community when she received a stem cell transplant at MSK in the fall of 2012 for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

Ms. Roberts and her fellow thrivers greeted old friends, made new ones, and reunited with doctors, nurses, and other staff. Together, they shared memories about the complex, often grueling process that helped bring them back to health.

Sergio Giralt, Chief of MSK’s Adult Bone Marrow Transplant Service, said he was overjoyed to see so many patients who have “dropped your boxing gloves and now have returned to put on the tender gloves of life.” He also encouraged thrivers and their loved ones to get involved in supporting blood and marrow transplant efforts because “so many people who need transplants lack the resources and access to get help, particularly in metro New York, which is the most underserved area for transplants in the country.”

Click through the slide show above to learn more about the people at this event, filled with inspiring stories, plenty of laughs, and some well-deserved tears.

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Dr. O'Reilly, great to see your photo in this article. Hope all is well..