A three-time breast cancer survivor, Donna Deegan is the founder of The Donna Foundation, which funds the critical needs of underserved women with breast cancer. An avid marathon runner, Donna is also the founder of the "26.2 with Donna," the only national marathon dedicated to breast cancer research.
"This marathon is dedicated solely to ending breast cancer in our lifetime and to caring for those who are living with the disease right now," says Deegan.
The Donna Foundation has pledged to donate the majority of funds raised by the marathon to Mayo Clinic for clinical research and to the Mayo Clinic Multidisciplinary Breast Clinic, which specializes in the detection and treatment of breast cancer. A portion of the proceeds will also be used for the critical care of breast cancer survivors in need.
The "26.2 with Donna" supports the research of Edith Perez, M.D., one of the top breast cancer researchers in the world. Dr. Perez led a clinical trial which recently produced what is arguably the most significant breakthrough in breast cancer research in 30 years: a 52 percent decrease in the recurrence of HER-2 positive invasive breast cancer in patients who received trastuzumab (Herceptin) and chemotherapy vs. chemotherapy alone.
"The financial support from the "26.2 with Donna" Foundation has made this program possible, with oversight and critical instrumentation provided by Mayo Clinic," says Dr. Perez. "We look forward to continued, careful stewardship of the money in the context of our visionary strategy to use and develop state-of-the-art genomic technology to develop 21st century therapeutic approaches to the development and treatment of breast cancer and other malignancies."
Kristi Naines, breast cancer survivor, patient of Dr. Edith Perez and Mayo employee, has run the "26.2 with Donna" four times. "I run to help other women with breast cancer," says Kristi. "It's a very emotional day."