Donna Deegan is a super hero. She's been battling cancers since 1999 and instead of breaking down from the mental and physical stress, she's running marathons, helping other women pay their medical bills, and spreading awareness about the disease.
Donna was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999 when she was a news anchor in Florida. She decided to keep a blog (yes, a blog in 1999!) to keep her viewers updated on her treatments and progress.
She began receiving letters from people who were also fighting breast cancer but were having trouble making ends meet when it came to the incredible treatment bills. These people inspired her to create The Donna Foundation which used her public reputation to help find a solution to medical bills.
"I hoped that by sharing my story, I would help other women become better advocates for themselves during their journeys with breast cancer."
After fighting off the first bought of cancer with chemotherapy, Donna found out that her cancer was back again, and in 2008 she was told that it was back for a third time.
All the while, Donna was still keeping up with the Donna Foundation to help women struggling with bills on top of a life threatening disease.
in 2008, The Donna Foundation partnered with Olympic marathoner Jeff Galloway and the Mayo Clinic to launch 26.2 With Donna.
It’s the only marathon that sends 100 percent of its proceeds to support breast cancer research and to help under-served women with breast cancer.
"We’ve raised more than $3 million dollars to, as we say, “FINISH” breast cancer!"
Here is the real takeaway from Donna's incredible life:
"Each time I’ve dealt with cancer, it’s moved me forward in some way: as an advocate, as a wife and mother, and hopefully as a human. After my third diagnosis, which was a metastasis to my left lung, I made the very conscious decision to live life in a different way. I learned to meditate to still my mind, put better things in my body, and eventually left the very stressful news business to focus more on my work as a health advocate.
"Living life as an Optimist is a choice: A choice to look through a lens of love rather than fear. I’ve been cancer-free now for seven years, but I really count those years one day at a time. I get up each morning feeling incredibly grateful that I’m still here. We should all do that."