DENVER (CBS4) – A mother of three recently celebrated 20 years since undergoing a bone marrow transplant. It cured her life threatening blood disorder.
The care she received in the hospital gave her the spark she needed to finally realize a dream.
“Hi Curtis, how are you,” said Maggie Brunner, RN.
Maggie works as a bone marrow transplant coordinator at the Colorado Blood Cancer Institute at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s (CBCI).
“Well, you’re doing great,” Maggie said.
Maggie understands the importance of encouragement. Twenty years ago, she was a patient in the very same program.
“It just kind of turned my world upside down,” Maggie told Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.
Maggie was 37, a stay-at-home mom with three children. She had been struggling with bleeding issues for years. But in 2000, her condition tuned critical.
“My blood counts just kept dropping and dropping, so I just stopped making blood,” she explained.
Dr. Jeff Matous, a member at CBCI, diagnosed her with severe aplastic anemia.
“That’s a life threatening and, if you don’t fix it, fatal disease,” said Matous.
“It was very scary. It conjured up some really scary conversations with my husband,” said Maggie.
Maggie needed a bone marrow transplant. Her brother, Tom, was a perfect match.
During a month in the hospital, the care she got from the staff changed her life.
“They were just so encouraging, they were so supportive, they were my biggest cheerleaders,” said Maggie choking back tears.
That rekindled Maggie’s lifelong desire to become a nurse. Cured of the blood disease, she went back to school and graduated in 2012 at age 49. In 2015, she returned to CBCI and is now working for the program that saved her life.
“Maggie has the perspective,” said Matous. “I’ve walked in your shoes, I know what it’s like.”
Matous calls Maggie a superstar. Maggie pinches herself and calls working beside the doctors and nurses a privilege.