BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts loves coming home to South Mississippi to catch up with loved ones and re-establish her roots.
During this visit, she wanted to talk about a major milestone she reached recently and how she’s using it pay it forward. Six years ago, Robin received a lifesaving bone marrow transplant thanks to her sister Sally-Anne, who was a perfect match. She now celebrates every year and works to make a difference.
She shared stories about going beyond being a survivor by being, what she calls, a thriver. “I’m telling everyone now we’re all stronger than we think we are.” The Good Morning America host knows what it’s like to be a survivor. “Daddy, Colonel Lawrence E. Roberts, died in 2004, Katrina happened in 2005, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, Momma, Lucimarian Roberts, died right before my 2nd health battle, and I’m still standing here.”
All of this happened in less than eight years, but Robin fought back. "As the great Pat Summit once said, “Left foot, right foot'’. Robin knows it’s important during the most difficult times to “Keep moving, and keep believing. Know that you’re a thriver. A lot of people don’t believe they are. They don’t think they have it in them, but we all have it in us.” That’s the message Robin is sharing six years after the procedure that saved her life.
On September 20, she announced on Good Morning America, “I always like to do something special on this day. You don’t go down this path just to be a survivor. I wanted to get my life back. I was thriving before, and I’m thriving now.”
It’s that drive to thrive that allows her to move from the anchor desk in New York to the women’s symposium in Biloxi to a celebration in Pass Christian, all within twenty-four hours. It’s just another day in the life of Robin Roberts. She says being a thriver is a matter of finding inner strength and a new path forward, something her parents laid the groundwork for in her life. “Thinking of the strength they gave me. All those times Momma and Daddy said, ‘You’re stronger than you think you are.’”
It’s one of many messages they shared with Robin and her three older siblings. “Karen, you know my mother well and she was all about making your mess your message. About offering service to others, and that’s how our family rolls. That’s what we do.”
Growing up in a tight-knit military family handed down lessons throughout their childhood that would last a lifetime. “As Momma and Daddy said, it’s not what you accomplish, it’s what you overcome that stays with you and means the most.”
Robin is using her voice to recognize thrivers from around the world with her special “Thriver Thursday” series.
“Everybody has a story to tell and many of them want to share it to help someone else," she explained. “A thriver to me is somebody who has been dealt an immense blow, whether it’s a terrible diagnosis, a divorce, a Katrina, you name it. Just someone dealt an immense blow and that person says I’m not going to look back, I’m moving forward. That to me is a thriver.”
Robin says she’ll continue to move forward and be a thriver. “My mother and father laid down this great foundation, this coast laid down this great foundation for me to grow and to be strong. I just want to pay it forward.”
You can learn more about Robin’s thriver initiative by going to ThriverThursday.com.