Robin Roberts, television anchor for ABC's "Good Morning America," has announced that she's taking a leave of absence from the show. The 51-year-old revealed back in June that she's currently battling myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a blood and bone disease. On Tuesday, she said she was "not feeling well" and would "get some vacay" ahead of an upcoming bone-marrow transplant.
"I received my MDS diagnosis on the very day that Good Morning America finally beat the Today Show for the first time in 16 years," Roberts wrote in an earlier statement. "Talk about your highs and lows! Then a few weeks ago, during a rather unpleasant procedure to extract bone marrow for testing, I received word that I would interview President Obama the next day. The combination of landing the biggest interview of my career and having a drill in my back reminds me that God only gives us what we can handle and that it helps to have a good sense of humor when we run smack into the absurdity of life."
According to an in-depth article by MNN's Melissa Breyer, MDS can sometimes be caused by chemotherapy and radiation from cancer treatments. Roberts, a breast cancer survivor, says in her article that this is likely how she developed the blood disease.
"Bone marrow donors are scarce and particularly for African-American women," she writes. "I am very fortunate to have a sister who is an excellent match, and this greatly improves my chances for a cure. As you know from my recent interview with Mark Zuckerberg, organ donation is vitally important. Many people don't realize they can be bone marrow donors. I encourage everyone to sign up on a donor registry like bethematch.org."
In late June, Be The Match announced that more than 11,000 people had registered in the wake of Roberts' announcement; including many employees of ABC News.
It is expected that she will have her bone-marrow transplant later this fall. "My doctors tell me I'm going to beat this -- and I know it's true," she said.
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