Melissa's Magnificent Avengers! TOGETHER WE WILL
What running Donna means to me…. When I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer the 2nd time, running became my solitude- God, me and the road. My mantra is “I run for life” When I heard about The DONNA, The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer and met Donna, I decided if I was ever going to run a marathon this was going to be the one. My first marathon was 2011 and I am now coming up on my 11th year participating in The DONNA Marathon weekend. This is now the only marathon I run every year. My feelings about this race is always the same because of the mission of The DONNA Foundation; it’s become my passion to continue to raise awareness and fundraise to get us closer to a cure and to help those with financial need. As I run, hearing all the love and cheers from the Jacksonville Beach community, I reflect, I celebrate and I thank God that I am still alive. I know I am loved and blessed. There are feelings of excitement, hope, joy, and gratitude; I let it all resonate with me and my thoughts go to my kids and my soul-mate, my “whys”. I carry them with me. Yes, there are moments in the race that I don’t know if I am going to be able to take another step or how I am going to make it to the finish line; but then I remember all that I have overcome and been through on this journey. I think of all those names on the cape on my back and I am overcome with emotion. I am empowered by my “why;” I empowered by the fact what I am doing is helping and as tears stream down my face I smile big and I look up at God and am thankful. I am not just running this race for me but for them, for those names on my back; and I just keep moving.
Last years race was a little tougher for me, my sister, Karen and fellow VIPink, Sara both had passed away from metastatic breast cancer in November 2019. Race day morning I received a message from my cousin that his wife, Carla, had went home peacefully from her journey with metastatic disease. I was filled with a lot of different emotions. I was sad, my heart hurt that she was gone, I was mad because I didn't understand why her, but why not her. And then at the same time I felt peace; she was no longer in pain. I really felt her presence that race morning. I dedicated my run to both Karen & Carla. There were moments in the run where I felt them both with me in my heart and I was surrounded by my family & team. Crossing that finish line with them by my side I felt victorious! So what does running The DONNA mean to me? It means EVERYTHING! I run for life!
Did you know…
- Our survivorship, education and awareness programs reach nearly 10,000 survivors, their families and loved ones annually.
- Our current service year of the DONNA CareLine is trending up 40% over last year for the volume of families needing our support.
- Next year, we are on trend to serve more than 1,000 families living with breast cancer and we cannot do this without your help.
- 70% of the families we serve are living at or near 400% of the national poverty level.
- 60% of the patients we serve are between the ages of 35 and 55.
- The DONNA CareLine is able to consistently mitigate or resolve 97% of its annual cases.
- The DONNA Foundation funds ‘game-changing’ research at Mayo Clinic like specialized equipment funded this year.
Join me in supporting The DONNA Foundation. Together we can finish breast cancer.
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