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Marrow match doesn't work out for Brannigan

But she continues looking on bright side, with reason

Dona and her husband, Joe, with their children, Alexis, Louis and Iona, 4. File photo

September 29, 2011 | 10:52 AM
It was the 11th hour when Sound Beach resident Dona Brannigan got the call that the bone marrow transplant she was scheduled to receive was put on hold.

The mother of three who has leukemia said her bags were packed and waiting by the front door for her Thursday, Sept. 22 admittance to the hospital when doctors told her late Wednesday evening there were issues surrounding the donor and the transplant could not go on as planned.

Brannigan, a waitress at the Rocky Point Townhouse before her illness, was diagnosed with the disease this past Mother's Day. She spent 12 weeks on the registry in search of a bone marrow match to cure her.

Brannigan said she was left feeling frustrated by the lack of information the doctor provided on why the transplant could not proceed. Strict privacy rules prevent doctors from revealing much information about the donor, including why the transplant won't happen. The only information Brannigan had about her match was that it is a woman.

"They were very vague," she said. "All I know is that there were donor issues and it was something beyond the donor's control. The doctor said it was in my best interest that it isn't going to happen."

There is good news, however. Even after the original match had been made, doctors continued to scan the registry "just in case," Brannigan said, and there is another match for her — this time, a male donor whose identity will also remain secret. Even better news was that the results of a biopsy revealed that her leukemia is still in remission.

No new date has been set for the transplant. The new donor needs to be cleared by his doctor first before they can move forward.

Throughout her ordeal, Brannigan has insisted on looking on the bright side, even with the recent setback. She said she was happy to be able to attend her son's high school Open House and hopes to still be home for her Oct. 9 birthday.

Though the delay is "stressful and annoying," she hopes it is a blessing in disguise. "This is not bad," she said. "This is to be continued."

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