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Robin Roberts: Transplant Donor, Sister Sally-Ann, Is “Giving Me the Gift of Life”

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Robin Roberts and sister Sally-Ann Roberts on Good Morning America on June 11, 2012. 

Robin Roberts is ready to fight for her life.

Making her final appearance, for now, on Good Morning America Thursday, Roberts revealed that she is beginning her medical leave one day early, in order to visit her family and ailing mom Lucimarian in Mississippi over the weekend (as the region braces for Hurricane Isaac) before she undergoes a bone marrow transplant next week in New York City.

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"There's a quote that really resonates with me when I think about this time in my life: 'Life provides losses and heartbreak for all of us, but the greatest tragedy is to have the experience and miss the meaning,'" Roberts, 51, told viewers during Thursday's emotional broadcast. "I am determined not to miss that meaning, because I realize I have been given many gifts — gifts that will carry me through this difficult time."

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Reflecting on the support system she's gained since announcing she was battling myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a rare blood and bone marrow disorder, Roberts gave fans a glimpse into her final doctor's appointments and surgical consultations with her sister and donor, Sally-Ann, by her side.

Set to undergo her bone marrow transplant at NYC's famed Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center with Dr. Sergio Giralt, Roberts will inherit her eldest sister's blood type and could potentially inherit her allergies. On Thursday's show, she owned up to her post-transplant worries. "I don't want to be sick again. I've been sick — I don't feel sick right now," Roberts reasoned. "I don't want to be bald and throwing up again. But then, I [say to myself] 'Do you want to live?' Yeah, I want to live."

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The beloved news anchor's sister — declared by doctors to be a perfect match — is going into the procedure with little hesitation. "I don't feel any fear about the procedure," she said on Thursday's GMA. "I pray for three things for my sister Robin. I pray for Robin to have three things: Supernatural strength, supernatural wisdom and supernatural favor."

The woman whom Roberts praised as "giving me life" has one ulterior motive going into next week's surgery: "I want to be here to celebrate Robin's 90th birthday — because that will make me 98," she joked.

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