About the Marathon
26.2 with Donna is the only marathon in the U.S. dedicated solely to raising funds to end breast cancer. One hundred percent (100%) of raised funds and race proceeds go to breast cancer research and care. The 5th Annual 26.2 with Donna is expected to draw more than 10,000 registered runners from all 50 states and more than 20 countries worldwide. The events include a marathon, half marathon and 5-person marathon relay, a two-day Health & Fitness Expo, Pasta Dinner, 5K and Family Fun Run.
Since its inaugural year in 2008, 26.2 with Donna has contributed more than $2 million to its beneficiaries. Seventy percent (70%) of proceeds go to the Mayo Clinic for bench top breast cancer research - thirty percent (30%) go to The Donna Foundation to assist breast cancer patients and families with critical financial needs. With the initial contributions from 26.2 with Donna, Mayo Clinic has established the Breast Cancer Translational Genomics Program.
These researchers, under the direction of Dr. Edith Perez, have identified and experimentally validated 56 gene mutations that have never been identified in the setting of breast cancer. The team intends to now apply the technology to determine the impact of these genomic discoveries related to patients and their outcome.
According to the team, one of the great benefits of the program so far is it has created one of the first templates for translating all of the information that is each patient's genome - 2 terabytes of data, or enough information to fill a standard academic research library - into meaningful clues that will help individualize all aspects of breast cancer care, including diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. The Donna Foundation has served more than 5,000 individuals with breast cancer.
About Event Founder/Event Chairman Donna Deegan
First Coast News Anchor Donna Deegan is a Jacksonville native. She graduated from Bishop Kenny High School and received her BS in Communications from Florida State University.
After graduating from FSU, Donna started a career in broadcasting. Her first job was as a morning anchor and reporter for WTXL in Tallahassee from 1984 through 1985. From there, she moved on to be the West Palm Bureau Chief for WTVX in Fort Pierce. After a short stay, Donna became the morning and noon anchor for WPEC in West Palm Beach, where she remained until August of 1988.
It was then that she jumped at the opportunity to come home to Jacksonville and First Coast News to anchor the weekend broadcasts. Then in 1992, she took on the weekday evening broadcasts at 5:30 and 11 p.m. where she remains today.
Donna is involved in a number of community organizations and is the founder of two charitable organizations. After a diagnosis with the breast cancer, she talked with many women who simply couldn't make ends meet while they were undergoing treatment for the disease and as a result, she created The Donna Foundation. The Foundation provides the necessary funds to meet the critical needs of First Coast women living with breast cancer.
As an avid marathoner, Donna was inspired to establish the annual race 26.2 with Donna: The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer. 26.2 with Donna is the only marathon in the country that is dedicated exclusively to raising funds for breast cancer research and care. One hundred percent of the proceeds go directly to breast cancer research at Mayo Clinic and to women living with breast cancer through The Donna Foundation.
Donna is a published author of two books. Her first book, The Good Fight, chronicles her second bout with breast cancer and the on-line journal that she kept during that time. She has since survived and thrived through a third brush with the disease and spends much of her time encouraging others in their own journeys. Her second book, Through Rose Colored Glasses, A Marathon From Fear to Love, Donna takes the fight out of cancer. She combines the will of a three-time survivor, with the heart of a marathoner to change the view from fear to love.
"The biggest difference, and what I hope people will take away from this book, is that you can separate fear from cancer, and you can separate fight from cancer and not only can you, if you do, I think you have a much better chance of doing well," said Deegan
During her career, Donna has received many awards including the Jacksonville Business Journal Women of Influence Award in 2004, The Enterprising Women's Leadership Award in 2005, The Florence Davis Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 and in 2008 the prestigious Eve Award for volunteer service. Donna is also a Guest Expert for the International Association of Women Runners.
Donna is a member of St. Paul's Catholic Church in Jacksonville Beach. She has two beautiful children, Danielle and Drew. She is married to First Coast News Chief Meteorologist Tim Deegan.