Area nonprofit runs toward a future free of breast cancer with a $20,000 matching grant from THE PLAYERS Championship
The DONNA Foundation kicked off DONNA Marathon Weekend 2023 training with its 16th annual Galloway DONNA Kick-Off Training Event with around 100 runners and walkers on Saturday, October 15.
The Foundation is celebrating its 20th anniversary year and hit the ground running toward its fundraising goals with a $20,000 matching gift challenge issued by THE PLAYERS Championship.
The Galloway DONNA Kick-Off event featured Olympian Jeff Galloway and The DONNA Foundation Founder, Donna Deegan, to officially begin the training season for runners going for their first or best DONNA marathon or half-marathon, with three-mile and one-mile run/walk options. Galloway, the inventor of the run/walk method, spoke to runners about his method of training and encouraged everyone that a marathon is possible for runners of all abilities.
“I know a marathon (or a half) can seem daunting at first, no matter a runner’s experience or ability,” said Galloway. “Getting started is the hardest part –– but once you get moving, the key is to keep moving. Studies show that moving your body during treatment can positively impact survival rates and it can change your life for the better, including helping maintain mental health. The run/walk method I’ve championed for years is perfect for beginners and experienced runners alike, and I’m always excited to encourage runners to just start. Being back here in Jacksonville with Donna is a treat, and I’m looking forward to another great DONNA Marathon Weekend in February.”
The kick-off event also served as a celebration of the Foundation’s fundraising efforts. In honor of its 20th anniversary year, the Foundation’s goals include serving 2,000 patients, walking a combined 20,000 miles by DONNA Marathon Weekend 2023 through the DONNA 110 Mile-a-Day Challenge and launching a new breast cancer research seed grant program, with the goal of disbursing up to $50,000 to qualifying healthcare partners in support of innovative research projects. In addition, the kick-off event debuted the DONNA Walk with a Doc program, where breast cancer physicians and their patients walked together to celebrate survivorship and Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Kickstarting the fundraising effort, longtime DONNA Foundation partner, THE PLAYERS Championship, announced a gift-matching initiative. Kevin Copeland, Tournament Vice-Chair of THE PLAYERS 2023 announced a $20,000 matching gift challenge during the Galloway event. Fundraising team NOC’n-OUT Breast Cancer, led by Robin Robson and Kerry Luitgaarden out of Nocatee, presented a gift of $10,000 initiating the first donation of the challenge. All gifts made up to $20,000 will be matched for a total impact of $40,000; THE PLAYERS and The DONNA Foundation encourage all DONNA participants and supporters to get involved in fundraising efforts to help maximize its impact.
“We are so grateful for partners like Jeff and THE PLAYERS, who run alongside us toward the finish line of a world without breast cancer,” said Amanda Napolitano, Executive Director for the DONNA Foundation. “Through events like these, we can honor survivors and make a difference for future generations of breast cancer patients and families — thanks to the generosity of our runners and supporters. We are looking forward to meeting these exciting goals and celebrating survivorship at DONNA Marathon Weekend this February.”
“We are honored to partner with The DONNA Foundation and accelerate the impact it makes on a daily basis, here in Jacksonville and beyond,” said Copeland. “The organization’s desire to see a world without breast cancer is one we share, and we are glad to stand beside them to help make as big of a difference as possible.”
Registration for DONNA Marathon Weekend 2023 races and fundraising is now open, including the DONNA 110 Mile-A-Day Challenge. For additional information or to sign up, visit BreastCancerMarathon.com or thedonnafoundation.org.