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Robin Roberts' Diagnosis Hits Home for West Tennessee

By Natalie Potts
By npotts@wbbjtv.com

Robin Roberts announced she is now facing a new battle with Myelodysplastic Syndrome, (MDS). MDS is a rare bone marrow disorder, said doctors.

This will be Roberts second fight with a serious disease, as she beat breast cancer five years ago. Doctors believe the chemotherapy and radiation administered during Roberts' breast cancer treatment are to blame.

"It is one of the known potential side effects of the treatments we use to actually treat cancers," said Dr. Brion Randolph, Kirkland Cancer Center Medical Director.

Kirkland Cancer Center doctors believe Roberts' stunning announcement on Good Morning America hit close to home for those battling the disease in West Tennessee.

"I think she is an inspiration to many women," said Randolph.

Earnestine Bond, 58, is a Jackson cancer patient. She said she could relate when Roberts announced she too is fighting a rare bone disease.

"Yes, I felt her pain this morning. I looked at her and I know what she was going through," said Bond.

Bond has been battling a bone cancer since January and said she knows how devastating that diagnoses can be.

"It took a toll on me, I couldn't accept it just knowing the word cancer," said Bond.

Doctors said, Roberts has inspired many fighting the disease in West Tennessee clinics for years and patients say watching Roberts on Good Morning America, battle breast cancer, felt like they too were fighting with their hero.

"She is my hero because if she can fight it, I can fight it with her," said Bond.

Although MDS is a rare disease affecting around 18,000 people each year, the diagnosis is noticeable throughout West Tennessee.

"I see patients every week with the disease. We have new diagnoses, probably about one every other month," said Randolph.

For now bone marrow transplants are the only known cure for MDS, but their biggest issue is finding donors.

" A lot of us have this disease but we don't have anybody that will donate," said Bond.

There are around 1,300 new cancer patients treated in the Kirkland Cancer Center each year said Randolph.

if you would like to become a donor visit bethematch.org

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