First Coast News anchor Donna Deegan.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- After almost 30 years of award-winning broadcast journalism, 24 spent anchoring First Coast News, Donna Deegan will leave her nightly news duties on August 31, 2012 to lead her philanthropic organizations and focus more fully on her role as a wellness advocate.
"I love my First Coast News family and am so grateful to everyone who has welcomed me into their homes all these years. We've been through a lot together and we still have much to accomplish. The growth of 26.2 With Donna The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer and my goals for The Donna Foundation are really driving this decision. Journalism will always be a passion and a part of my life. As a cancer survivor, expanding this mission has been tugging at my heart for some time."
Deegan is the Founder/President of The Donna Foundation which began in June of 2003 offering financial assistance to breast cancer patients. A three-time breast cancer survivor, she was first diagnosed in 1999 at the age of 38. She was later inspired to form her Foundation after hearing from women in the midst of the disease who couldn't make ends meet. To date, more than 5,000 women have been assisted by The Donna Foundation.
In 2008, Deegan, in partnership with The Mayo Clinic and world renowned breast cancer researcher Dr. Edith Perez, launched the first ever marathon to raise funds exclusively for breast cancer research and care. The event has become an international draw to Jacksonville and its beaches, and to date has raised more than $3 million for ground breaking research and for the underserved.
"We had a breakthrough year in both fundraising and growth. I look forward to working with the incredible team we have in place, to lead us to the next level. I've said all along we will end breast cancer right here in Jacksonville, and I believe that is true. I feel incredibly blessed to be in good health and the time is right to pay that forward by completely immersing myself in the good work ahead," Deegan said.
Deegan is also a published author of two books. Her first book, The Good Fight, chronicles her second bout with breast cancer and the online journal that she kept during that time.
In her second book, Through Rose Colored Glasses, A Marathon From Fear to Love, Donna combines the spirit of a three-time survivor with a marathoner's heart to change the view from fear to love.
Despite her tireless advocacy, Donna's service to First Coast News viewers remained unchanged as she continued anchoring the 5:30 and 11 p.m. newscasts. First Coast News President and General Manager Dodie Cantrell said the station is looking forward to its next phase of work with this beloved community champion.
"We're saddened that we won't have the chance to work with Donna on a daily basis after August 31st, but, it has been an amazing gift--and a humbling example of service to others--to watch how Donna not only reclaimed her own life from breast cancer, but then put her passion into the pursuit of saving other women's lives, too. We are excited about the opportunity to continue our work with Donna and are honored to support her efforts especially because of FCN's long-standing commitment to finish breast cancer in our lifetime."
Deegan is the recipient of 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. She is also a Guest Expert for the International Association of Women Runners.