Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero made a Tuesday morning appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America, sharing his wife Casey’s triumph over leukemia with host Robin Roberts.
Guerrero, who fights boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather on May 4, took a brief break from training to make an East Coast media swing, which also included stints on Pat Robertson’s 700 Club and an invite-only luncheon in New York.
[VIDEO: Robert Guerrero and his wife battle cancer]
Roberts can relate to Casey’s story, having battled both breast and blood cancer for five years. Both women endured excruciating sessions of chemotherapy before bone marrow transplants saved their lives. Roberts’ donor was her older sister, Sally-Ann Roberts, while Casey’s “angel” was Katharina Zech, a 22-year-old German woman who met the Guerreros for the first time last July.
In 2010, “The Ghost” gave up his junior lightweight world title, putting his career on hold to tend to Casey and take care of their two children. To this day, he feels the ordeal was more painful than any left hook to the jaw.
“She went through a series of chemos for the next two, three years,” Guerrero told CSNBayArea.com. “They had to up her dose…to the point where the doctor said, ‘You got to get a bone marrow transplant, because the cancer’s immune to [the chemotherapy].”
If it weren’t for BeTheMatch.org, a bone marrow donor registry with close to 10 million potential donors, Casey might not be alive today.
“That’s what got her the donor in three months,” Guerrero added. “Three months before that, the girl that was the donor just got on the list…It’s just amazing how the process is done and how [Casey] made it through.”
For their efforts to spread the message about BeTheMatch.org, the organization’s CEO, Dr. Jeffrey Chell, has designated Guerrero and Roberts their official Ambassadors of Hope.
“This is a need for more donors,” Chell told ABC News. “The type of matching we do is very complex and precise…It’s so important that people join the registry [and] be committed to being on that registry.”
In order to be eligible for BeTheMatch.org, a willing donor must be between ages 18 and 60, and also meet health guidelines. Registration involves filling out a health form and having a swab of cheek cells procured.
Be sure to check out next week’s edition of CSNBayArea.com’s Ghost Stories, which will focus on Casey Guerrero’s fight to knock out cancer and the family that wouldn’t let her give up.
[RELATED: Ghost Stories, Part 1: Guerrero’s father an old-school original]
CSN Bay Area Boxing Insider Ryan Maquiñana is a voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and panelist for Ring Magazine’s Ratings Board. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.