Donna’s story is of a seven year old girl who survived a stroke, and her journey, as a woman, to learn to run again. This is where Run Donna Run began.
Donna’s story is a miraculous one about strength, overcoming struggles and achieving results that even shocked doctors.
Donna’s childhood challenge:
At seven years of age, she was known as ‘The Mystery Girl’ by medical practitioners at the Royal Children’s Hospital, as her condition was an extremely unusual case. With a whole gamut of findings and her stroke diagnosis – right hemiparesis. The right side of her body was immobile from a haemorrhage in the left side of her brain. Other findings included meningitis, staphylococcal septicaemia, splenomegaly and endocarditis, which indicated a prolapsing mitral valve – including a hole in her heart and a heart murmur. Donna had anaemia (iron deficiency), osteomyelitis of her right ankle bones and aphasia (loss of speech). This meant leaving Donna without the ability to walk and talk. Doctors told Donna’s parents that she would never walk or talk again.
As time went on and progress was made, Donna became known as ‘The Miracle Girl’ to the amazement of the medical team.
After a long period of rehabilitation Donna developed the ability to walk again, and can very well talk,
Then at the age of fourteen years, Donna was also diagnosed in a critical state with type 1 diabetes at the Royal Children’s Hospital once again.
It is staggering that she is even here to tell her story, and her attitude of gratitude is very evident when hearing Donna talk of her journey to where she is now.
Donna’s marathon challenge began here:
‘Somebody asked me a couple of years ago: “So Donna, what can’t you do since you have had the stroke?” I had to think about this as I always have focused on what I can do, rather than what I can’t. Good question though!’ Donna states. The answer: ‘Running. I have never felt confident in running after having the stroke.’
Donna was only able to run 30 tentative steps in November 2012; she decided to not only learn to run again, but to complete The Melbourne Marathon in October, 2013. Training for 11 months with the expert advice from Shaun and Chris, the team at Brewsters Running.
The motivation behind ‘Run Donna Run’ was not only about sharing Donna’s personal journey and encouraging others, but was also to raise funds for the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Donna achieved her goal, completing the Melbourne Marathon on October 13, 2013.
SEE MORE OF THE MARATHON CHALLENGE
AND VIDEO BLOGS HERE
The adventure challenges after the marathon:
The ‘Power Is In Me Program,’ this was a 20 week online running training program, nicknamed ‘PIIMP My Run.’
It was a fun online program with participants from all around Australia, covering a specialised running and nutrition program for the enthusiastic participants, from Brewsters Running and motivation from Run Donna Run.
SEE MORE OF PIIMP MY RUN HERE
The skydive challenge:
Donna’s new adventure challenge was ‘Falling For A Cause.’ This was a skydive adventure challenge! Yes, Donna wanted people to join her and hold her hand as she planned to jump out of a plane for the RCH kids. This was a great team effort in empowering people to get out of their comfort zone.
SEE MORE OF FALLING FOR A CAUSE HERE
The challenge EVERYONE could do with Donna…no excuses:
‘Run Your Own Race with RDR’ was the next group adventure challenge. Donna encouraged all to participate, no matter where they lived or their capabilities! It was a virtual race. People could walk, run, push a pram, cycle and even wheelchair it! Where ever they lived! The distances to choose from varied, and participants chose to run their own race, this was in the summer months of December 2015 to February 2016. Once again this empowered people to challenge themselves, there were some who even joined Donna on her race.
SEE MORE OF RUN YOUR OWN RACE WITH RDR HERE