Robin Roberts Remembers the Night She Almost Died

by Raphael Chestang 6:51 PM PDT, May 08, 2015
Photo: WebMD

Robin Roberts has bravely overcome two life-threatening illnesses, but there was a time that she didn't think she would make it through.

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In an interview with WebMD Magazine for its 10th anniversary issue, the Good Morning America co-anchor opened up about one of her darkest nights while recovering from a bone marrow transplant to treat the blood disease myelodysplastic syndrome.

"One night post-transplant I was convinced I was slipping away," she said. "And then I heard a voice saying my name over and over again. There was a nurse named Jenny, pleading with me not to slip away. I don't know what would have happened if she wasn't there."

Roberts was diagnosed with the rare blood disorder after beating breast cancer. The disease could have been caused by her radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

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"I really appreciate that he [Dr. Sergio Giralt, MD, chief of the adult bone marrow transplantation service at Memorial Sloan Kettering] asked me if I would be part of a clinical trial," she continued. "There's a reason why, as a black woman, you're told-which is hard to hear-that you're less likely to get cancer but more likely to die from it."

Roberts first took a leave of absence from GMA in September 2012. She made her triumphant return in January 2013.

In April 2014, Roberts told ET that there was a time where she wanted to die because she "was in so much pain."

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"My throat felt like I had swallowed a blow torch -- I couldn't swallow," Roberts told Cameron Mathison.

The newswoman also said she had been amazed and touched by the outpouring of support she'd received through her health ordeals. "There has not been one single day where someone hasn't come up to me and said, 'I've prayed for you.' Not one day," she said. "My shoulders almost go down when people say you're so courageous, because they gave me the strength to want to fight."