Stories of Hope Interview Series: Meet Briana

Unlike most 18-year-olds who are busy thinking about their college experience and dreaming of job opportunities, Briana Donis found herself grappling with a Severe Aplastic Anemia diagnosis. Here we share Briana’s reflections on her two year medical journey, two bone marrow transplants (one failed), and how she was encouraged by the “soul level” help that His Grace Foundation provided.

Briana’s first memory, like most BMTU patients, is of the shopping His Grace Foundation provided. A practical, needed opportunity for us to satisfy cravings, bring a smile, or refill a necessity as simple as toothpaste.

“I remember thinking ‘I can put anything on this list?’” Briana recalled. “I just couldn’t believe it. I asked for fruit roll-ups and socks.”

While Briana’s wishlists were being fulfilled and providing a bright spot on dark days, she was also grateful for the sense of togetherness and understanding that the BMTU offered.

“Everyone you come across, they just understand the situation you’re in and how difficult it is not only for you, but for your family.”

Having that sense of community when she learned that her first bone marrow transplant had failed was vital.

“The hardest thing was accepting. Accepting my situation and what was to come. Accepting that I no longer had control. Nothing was up to me anymore. This situation knocked me on my knees.”

Briana’s second transplant was successful and put her on the road to recovery. She is now a recent college graduate with a degree in kinesiology and has started a small art business, Moon Star Creation — something she likely never imagined upon her diagnosis at age 18.

When asked how she would describe His Grace Foundation in one word, Briana answered with “generosity”.

“And you can’t have generosity without kindness, care, compassion. When you add all those things up, you want to give generously.
And when was it that Briana felt that “soul-level” of help from HGF we first teased at the beginning of this story?

When His Grace Foundation provided her with a His Grace Place apartment. It not only helped Briana feel more independent, but it alleviated the financial strain of needing to be near the medical center and allowed relationships with friends and family to blossom.

“For me, it was a level of help that was soul-level.”

Special Note: Each year at the His Grace Foundation Charity Golf Tournament, the winning team and Platinum sponsors receive commemorative platters designed and created by a former Bone marrow Transplant Unit patient. This year, Briana was the selected artist. We could not be more grateful for the time she put in to create these cherished, celebratory gifts.