DONNA Special Guests
DONNA MARATHON WEEKEND FOUNDERS
Award-winning journalist, philanthropist and marathoner, Donna Deegan is the founder of The DONNA Foundation, a nonprofit that provides financial assistance and support to families living with breast cancer and funds ground breaking breast cancer research. The three-time breast cancer survivor formed the organization in 2003 following her second diagnosis of the disease.
In 2008, Donna created 26.2 with DONNA, The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer, dedicated to breast cancer research and care, now a signature event of The DONNA Foundation. The marathon is listed as one of CNN Travel’s 7 U.S. Marathon’s Worth the Trip and voted as favorite charity race by Women’s Running Magazine readers. It is held annually on the second weekend in February attracting thousands of runners and supporters from all 50 states and more than 20 countries.
In addition, Donna is the author of two memoirs, The Good Fight, a chronicle of her own breast cancer treatment and recovery, and Through Rose Colored Glasses, A Marathon from Fear to Love, which encourages all with life altering challenges to change their perspective from one of fear to one of love.
Donna is a wife and mother of two and lives in Atlantic Beach, Florida.
Over a million runners and walkers have read Galloway books, attended his retreats / running schools, received E-coaching or individual consultation or joined his training programs. His doable plans have opened up the life-changing experience of finishing a distance event to almost everyone. His methods have reduced aches, pains and injuries to almost zero. Jeff is in front of an audience motivating and teaching over 200 times a year–helping those of all abilities to enjoy exercise until they are 100!
Galloway designed this method in 1973 to help beginners start running. Strategic walk breaks allow each runner to control fatigue, virtually eliminating significant running injuries. Numerous surveys show that veterans tend to improve their finish times when they shift to Run Walk Run.
Edith A. Perez, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, is an internationally recognized translational researcher and cancer specialist known for her strategic vision in innovative and patient-centric clinical trial design. Dr. Perez joined Bolt in 2020 and has set direction for the organization’s clinical strategy and development and oversees regulatory affairs, pharmacovigilance, biostatistics, and medical affairs for the company’s diverse clinical development and early-stage immuno-oncology pipeline.
In addition to her work at Bolt Biotherapeutics, Dr. Perez is chair of the Health Equity Committee and a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for Stand Up to Cancer, a member of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology & Research Trust and has been involved in diversity leadership and philanthropic initiatives with the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Association for Cancer Research and The DONNA Foundation. She also serves on the editorial boards of multiple academic journals and is a member of the Board of Directors and the Clinical Advisory Board for Artiva Biotherapeutics. Dr. Perez was formerly professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic, where she practiced for over two decades. Prior to joining Bolt, Dr. Perez was vice president and head of the BioOncology-U.S. Medical Affairs unit at Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, where she oversaw all U.S. hematology and oncology medical affairs. In that role, Dr. Perez led hundreds of trials and was involved in the launch of six drugs,
including Gazyva (obinutuzumab) for patients with lymphoma, Perjeta (pertuzumab) for patients with early-stage HER2+ breast cancer, Alesensa (alectinib) for patients with lung cancer and Tecentriq (atezolizumab) for bladder cancer and non-small cell lung cancer patients.
Dr. Perez earned her medical degree from the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine in San Juan and completed her residency in internal medicine at the Loma Linda University Medical Center in California. In addition, Dr. Perez completed her fellowship training at the University of California, Davis. She also completed the Executive Development Program at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Executive Leadership and the Management Executive Programs at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Perez is board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology, and hematology.
Joan Benoit Samuelson
Joan is an American marathon runner who was the first women’s Olympic Games marathon champion, winning the gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. She held the fastest time for an American woman at the Chicago Marathon for 32 years after winning the race in 1985. Her time at the Boston Marathon was the fastest time by an American woman at that race for 28 years. She was inducted into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame in 2000.
After returning to Bowdoin to complete her degree, she entered the 1979 Boston Marathon as a relative unknown. She won the race, wearing a Boston Red Sox cap, in 2:35:15, knocking eight minutes off the competition record. In 1981, she captured the U.S. 10,000 meter championship, posting a time of 33:37.50. Despite having surgery on her Achilles tendons two years earlier, she repeated her marathon success with a victory in 1983, setting a course record of 2:22:43. That took more than two minutes off the world’s best time, set by Norway’s Grete Waitz in the London Marathon only a day earlier. Her Boston record was not broken for another 11 years.
Fitz Koehler is among the most prominent and compelling fitness experts and race announcers in America. As the voice of the Los Angeles Marathon, Buffalo Marathon, Big Sur Marathon, Detroit Free Press Marathon, DC Super Hero Series, and more, Fitz brings big structure, energy, and joy to sports. When it comes to our Donna events, she bubbles over with enthusiasm and love for all of our athletes, but especially the men and women who’ve endured breast cancer. Our fight is personal to Fitz, as she was diagnosed in 2019 and endured 15 months of chemo, 33 rounds of radiation, and multiple surgeries on her road back to health and athleticism.
Turning her trauma into triumph, Fitz combined her highly-credentialed fitness expertise with her cancer street-cred to author the Cancer Comeback Series, helping other patients and survivors orchestrate their return to health.
Your Healthy Cancer Comeback: Sick to Strong is the comprehensive guidebook for cancer patients and survivors eager to slow decline during treatment and regain strength, stamina, vibrancy, athleticism, and overall health in recovery. Author, Fitz Koehler, strategically orchestrated her own healthy cancer comeback from sick, scrawny, and weak to a strong Boston Marathon finisher. Now it’s time for you to use the same tools to return to full force.
Healthy Cancer Comeback Journal is the perfect companion to Your Healthy Cancer Comeback: Sick to Strong. Cancer is complicated, emotional, challenging, and filled with unique moments. Filled with thoughtful prompts, you’ll be able to keep track of your oncology experiences, thoughts, feelings, fears, faith, strawberry moments, and facts about your care. You’ll also benefit from the daily fitness log designed to track your health and fitness accomplishments along the way.
My Noisy Cancer Comeback: Running At The Mouth, While Running For My Life is the ultimate tale of hope and perseverance for the cancer community. A fun, funny, and honest insight into one very noisy woman’s adventures/misadventures battling breast cancer while traveling across America, hosting dozens of massive running events. It has become widely praised as the ultimate handbook for thriving while surviving. Fitz’s story proves that anyone can endure hardships better by utilizing perspective, passion, and positivity. You can do hard things!
Signed copies of all books are available at Fitzness.com and will be available at the Donna National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer.
With a Master’s Degree in Exercise and Sport Sciences and decades of experience teaching fitness worldwide, Fitz has helped countless people live better and longer by making fitness understandable, attainable, and fun. As CEO of Fitzness International, she masterfully uses every form of mass media to lead people toward health and athletic adventure. As a busy keynote speaker, Fitz shares inspirational lessons from her cancer-crushing whirlwind in her keynote presentations, convincing global audiences that they “can do hard things,” too. She has appeared on many national media outlets, hosts a popular podcast, The Fitzness Show, and has performed as a speaker and spokesperson for corporations like Disney®, Oakley®, Tropicana®, and Office Depot®. Fitz’s successful school running/walking program, The Morning Mile®, has inspired millions of children, their families, and teachers to get moving in the mornings.
In her free time, Fitz enjoys water sports, strength training, obstacle course races, animals, hugs, sarcasm, getting muddy in her Jeep Wrangler, and travel. She lives in Gainesville, Florida.
Please introduce yourself to Fitz online and during race weekend. She’s excited to meet each of you and noisily celebrate your accomplishments.
Lindsey Hein lives in North Carolina with four boys, one very patient dog, and her husband of 13 years, Glenn. She’s the founder of the podcast network SandyBoy Productions and host of I’ll Have Another and Why is Everyone Yelling? with Lindsey Hein. From a high school cross country to 16 marathons and a half ironman triathlon, Lindsey is a devotee of the running lifestyle. And as a RRCA certified coach, she loves to help other runners hit their big goals.