Donna Campisi survived a stroke at the age of eight, and doesn’t remember ever running since then.
Donna’s story is a miraculous one about strength, overcoming struggles and achieving results that even shocked doctors.
Donna only started to learn to run again in November 2012 with the help from her Coach’s at www.brewstersrunning.com setting her own challenge to run the Melbourne Marathon on October 13, 2013, to support the Royal Children’s Hospital.
It was in 1978 where she was known as ‘The Mystery Girl’ by the medical practitioners at the Royal Children’s Hospital, as her condition was an extremely unusual case. With many findings in her diagnosis including right hemiplegia (inability to move right side of body) from damage to the left side of her brain, meningitis, staphylococcal septicaemia, aphasia (loss of speech), splenomegaly, endocarditis (inflammation of her heart) a hole in her heart along with a heart murmur, leaving Donna with the inability to walk. This shocked practitioners who reported to Donna’s parents that she would never walk 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 with encouragement from her parents and medical team, and her own inner strength and determination, Donna developed the ability to walk.
At 14 years of age Donna was found very sick again with Diabetes Type 1, which was also diagnosed at the Royal Children’s Hospital; finding her in a critical state. This is another challenge that Donna needs to consider when running long distances.
It is staggering that Donna is even here to tell her story, and her attitude of gratitude is very evident when hearing Donna talk of her journey. Donna explains: “Somebody asked me over 12 months ago “So Donna, what can’t you do since you have had the stroke?” I had to think about this as I have always focused on what I can do, rather than what I can’t do.” After thinking for a while it came to me, the answer: “Running! I have never felt confident with running after having the stroke.”
So this is where Run Donna Run began! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxJMt6q04jg
Donna states; “The motivation behind Run Donna Run is about sharing my personal journey and encouraging others and also raising funds for the Royal Children’s Hospital ‘Wish List.’ After speaking to the hospital and enquiring as to where funds are currently most needed, the answer was the Wish List.” Wish List funds are incredibly important because they support the hospital’s ability to respond swiftly and flexibly to the most immediate and pressing needs at any time, across all departments for our most vulnerable children and their families.
Donna explains; “Run Donna Run is a huge personal challenge for me that at first sounded crazy, and is now a reality that I know I can achieve. I am not saying it’s easy, but then challenges weren’t meant to be!”
“I am a believer in achieving goals through baby steps. I was once not able to walk, but through small achievements along the way (‘baby steps’), I achieved the goal of my ability to walk. This I believe is achievable with all goals, including running.” Donna states.
The steps that Donna has achieved since November 2012 in her running challenge are a 5.3km fun run in January 2013, a 10km fun run in May 2013 and a Half Marathon in early August 2013.
“These were not all easy challenges for me. I ran the 10km and Half Marathon challenges both with a right ankle injury, but thank god for Rocktape!” Donna claims with a smile. “The Rocktape supported my ankle without causing discomfort or restricting the movement when running and it reduced the swelling too and the colours and designs are awesome!”
You can follow her journey at www.rundonnarun.com.au by viewing her updated video blogs and while you’re there, why not show your support with a kind donation or even purchase a RDR t-shirt or On-Running runners, proceeds going to the RCH.
We recommend you check out www.facebook.com/RunDonnaRun go over and ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ it with your friends to support her in her goal to raise $50,000 for the Royal Children’s Hospital ‘Wish List.’ The more people who know, the more support Donna can have to reach her goal!
“Run Donna Run!”
The first image is Donna preparing for the 10km fun run challenge with Rocktape to support her. The second image is of Donna proudly showing off her very first medal.