ESSENCE Fest: Robin Roberts' Chat With Sister Who Saved Her Life

Robin Roberts and her big sister have an intimate conversation about the power of family, love and healing.

ESSENCE.COM Jul, 25, 2014
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[MUSIC] So, let's start at the very beginning. What was your childhood like? Were you close, did you fight, did you, what was it like in your family? We were sisters, so that, you, you answered your own question because you were sisters. [LAUGH] Yes. So you did all of the above. Okay, now be kind. Because I know that Robyn and my other sister Dorothy have some stories about me being the big sister. Mm-hm. And I really have to say if I had known that Robyn was going to grow up and talk about me, I would have been a lot better as a big sister. [LAUGH] Our family motto, our family we may not have it together, but together we have it all. [LAUGH] And that's how it is. That's a good family motto. Isn't God good. Look at Robyn. Thank you. And I have to stop right now and just give all honor, glory and praise to God. That's my sister. And I wanna ask right now, would everyone who said a prayer for Robyn's healing, stand up? Oh, thank you. And we are people who know that when the praises go up, the blessings come down and so for this blessing and all the blessings that we have received, thank you Lord. Thank you Lord. Mickey mentioned. Right. That you write a lot about it in your book as well the fact that your sister donated her bone marrow. Mm-hm. In order to help save your life. Yes. Take us back a little before that when your very devastating diagnosis came in. What was the family reaction until the end. I mean, it's your baby sister. What were you thinking? We said a prayer when she gave me that diagnosis of breast cancer. By the grace of God, he flipped that script. He flipped that script. And through chemotherapy and through radiation, Robyn was healed and then to know five years later, that she had something that I had never heard of, myelodysplastic syndrome. And when Robin delivered that news she said now don't look it up, don't google it because then you will be very depressed. But there was a ray of hope when she said, but if I can find somebody that can match me genetically, I could possibly have a cure. That opened up the floodgates of hope. We have a couple of questions from Twitter that I'd love to throw to both of you, one says how many times were you told no, before you were able to get to a goal? I didn't take no for an answer and I had to be very creative. We all are, very creative in, in that reaching our destination, that I had, had the good fortune of writing a song with [INAUDIBLE]. And it is about life is a journey, it's not a destination. There are no mistakes, there's chances we take and lay down your regrets, because all we have is now. And so I would think about that when somebody would tell me no. You have both been very open with your struggles. Yes. And did you ever regret that decision? I have been helped so much. I have to say, it is a privilege to be used as a messenger. And I believe that I have been here to do that and to share and nothing lifts me more because when people say that I'm strong and courageous and things like that, I want you to know that there were times I was weak on my knees as my sister will tell you, and I was very fearful. And when ,when fear knocks, let faith answer the door. Amen, amen. When fear knocks, let faith answer the door. And so because I was helped so much that I have, its a great privilege to be, to be able to help others. And because of our family upbringing, there's never a time that I have have wanted to or felt that there was giving up too much.