Joe Edwards: This Hero of Bayonne, New Jersey Now Needs Help Himself; Faces Myelodyplastic Syndrome, the Blood Disorder that Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts is Recovering From

This past June, Robin Roberts, of Good Morning America, announced she was dealing with her second health challenge in five years. She announced, on the ABC morning program, that she was challenged with Myelodysplastic Syndrome. This syndrome is a blood disorder impacting the bone marrow. For an individual who is afflicted, a bone marrow transplant is needed. Just this week, it was reported that Robin wants to head back to Good Morning America in February. We are pulling for her recovery.

I had the pleasure of CYInterviewing Ms. Roberts back in 2007. She’s a wonderful human being and a credit to the media. [You can find my CYInterview with her here, as well as my radio appearance discussing her latest health challenge here.] Though Robin is on her way back to morning television, there are others facing this same health challenge that she has been working to surmount.

Today, we share a story about a man who has done a lot for others. His name is Joe Edwards. He is currently dealing with Myelodysplastic Syndrome. Mr. Edwards is a great leader and mentor in his community of Bayonne, New Jersey, where he has coached youth football, worked to give positive guidance to at risk, inner city kids and helped others deal with substance abuse issues, among other things.

Currently, Joe is going through chemotherapy treatment, as he awaits his bone marrow transplant. His health challenges have left him with a lot of medical bills. A webpage has been set up so that people can help Joe in his time of need. You can find it at

Financial services professional Rob Gill, who last was with us for our coaching panel [see here] joins me, along with Joe’s niece Raven Edwards, to talk about this man, who has given so much, and the help he now needs.

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Rob mentioned how Joe has had a positive impact on many young men who went onto to play Division I, college football, as well as some who made it to the NFL. Those players include Jerome Hayes of Penn State, Jammal Lord of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Houston Texans, Vinny Fonte of Monmouth University, who is on his way to becoming a lawyer, and some early, positive impact Mr. Edwards had on Kenny Britt of the Tennessee Titans.

“Joe is one of the most giving people that I’ve ever met in my entire life. … He’s such a great leader in Bayonne. He’s a phenomenal motivator. He’s one of the biggest givers I’ve ever met and you know he deserves this help, he really does. … You would never know that he’s going what he’s going through based on his attitude. His attitude is incredible. He’s one of the most generous, giving kids. When it comes to the youth football, it’s 12 months around the clock year. It’s not paid a lot of money. He does it for the love of it. …

I think that he tries to intervene with these young athletes and these young kids and really kind of change, maybe, some of their trajectories or paths based on certain things he sees in them that he might’ve felt when he was at that point. Forward looking, dynamic, genuine, I can’t say enough great words about who he is as a man. You know he’s a guy that if I’m in trouble for anything, if I need to talk about anything that’s going on in my life, he’s one phone call away.”

With an update on Joe’s current status is his niece Raven Edwards. She sees her uncle as an inspiration, for what he has done in the community. She states that the family is trying to raise money to pay for his medical bills and upcoming bone marrow transplant surgery:

“At the current moment with Joe, we have done bone marrow testing for his five siblings. Unfortunately only two of them were half matches. Of course, they try to go with a full match. They’re searching the databases at this moment to find someone that may be a full match. If we cannot find a full match within the next two to three weeks, they will be going with one of the half matches, either the brother or sister that do match. … As of now with financials, we are looking for help with the bone marrow transplant. We’re trying to look for help just to help with living costs every day, living costs for Joe, medical bills and all the medicines and everything at this point.”

Though Joe is in for the fight of his life, dealing with Myelodysplastic Syndrome, Rob believes this is the moment when those he has given so much to will come to his aid:

“This is a chapter in his story when he writes his book and the chapter’s gonna be how you know through the love and support of the people that he once loved and support that came back to him, helped him through this process and it’s gonna be a great story and we just would like anyone that’s gonna listen and go to the website you know to help out in any way they can and we’re very grateful.”

Those who would like to assist in helping Joe with his medical bills and upcoming bone marrow transplant surgery can make their contribution at

You can email Chris Yandek at Chris is available for interviews to comment on anything featured on CYInterview.

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