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Miracle on the Run…

Wow, I am running my first marathon this year at The Melbourne Marathon on October 13! Why? This is my story.

Known as ‘The Mystery Girl’ at 8yrs of age, by Doctor’s at the Royal Children’s Hospital, my condition was extremely unusual. With serious findings in my diagnosis: hemiplegia – the right side of my body was immobile from damage to the left side of my brain, meningitis – inflammation of brain membranes that protect the spinal cord, staphylococcal septicemia – blood poisoning, loss of speech, enlargement of my spleen, endocarditis – a hole and murmur in my heart and losing my ability to walk. Doctor’s reported to my concerned parents that I would never walk again.

Facing a long period of rehabilitation with encouragement from my parents and medical team, and my strength and determination, I developed the ability to walk again, and can very well talk, too much at times; some would say! I admit with a chuckle.

In 1984, revisiting the RCH again in a serious condition, diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at 14yrs of age, is a challenge I have to consider when running also.

Some time ago somebody asked, ‘Donna, what is it you can’t do since having the stroke?’ Interesting question, since I have always focused on what I can do. My answer; “I’ve never felt confident in running since 1978!”

Having taken my first tentative running steps in November 2012, beginning with 20, then 24, then 30 steps before having to stop, I thought “I definitely need help!” Coached by Shaun and Chris at Brewster’s Running, I have already ran a 5.3km fun run on Australia Day, and with determination will run the 42.2km Melbourne Marathon in October, 2013.

Run Donna Run in Running Divas Donna Campisi MarathonMy reason for doing this crazy challenge is of course for the RCH, and also the wonderful encouragement I receive from people who are following my journey on Now a reality that I know I can achieve, with a great team I have to support me! I am not saying it’s easy, but challenges weren’t meant to be!

I am the type of person who tries to focus on my abilities and strengthen them, even through the tough days when I had serious rehab to do, that wasn’t easy either!

I thank Running Divas for this opportunity to share my story, please go to to give a kind donation and follow my video blogs.

Money raised will go to the RCH ‘wish list.’ This is incredibly vital as this supports the hospital’s ability to respond swiftly to the most immediate and pressing needs at any time. By supporting the Run Donna Run campaign you’re directly helping to provide the best care for our most vulnerable children and their families.

Currently sharing my incredible life journey through keynote presentations, I use my unique story to encourage and inspire others, I believe this is my mission.

Run Donna Run is looking for corporate sponsorship to help support the Royal Children’s Hospital, contact us at


Written by Donna Campisi – 13 Feb 2013
Photograph by Ari Hatzis.

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