Lindsey Hein: This is her story and it’s personal
Have you ever met someone who you just know she is doing exactly what she was put on Earth to do? That’s how I felt when I met Donna Deegan, whom I had the privilege to interview on my podcast in 2017.
I was introduced to The DONNA Foundation two years ago and experienced my ﬁrst DONNA Marathon Weekend in February 2017.
I had the honor of attending a dinner at the Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, where I was able to learn all about the great work The DONNA Foundation is doing to support ground-breaking breast cancer research and caring for those living with the disease.
This is something that is near to my heart as I am positive for the BRCA 2 gene mutation, which puts me at an 86% higher lifetime risk of getting breast cancer. I elected to have a prophylactic mastectomy in 2013 at age 30. When I learned I have the mutation and was faced with the reality, it was a pivotal moment in my life. I’m a fearful person by nature and it’s something I am constantly working on, but the fear of this was owning my life. I was unable to enjoy daily experiences because I was living in fear.
What turned out to be news I never wanted to hear, actually changed my life for the better. It taught me that while facing our fears isn’t always enjoyable, it does reveal how much courage one has deep down, if you are willing to stand up and use your knowledge to do something positive about your situation.
I still look back at that time in my life with a grateful heart from all the support I received and wonder how time has gone by so fast. There’s no greater fear in my life than not being here for my boys, not seeing them grow up. And, for that reason, I’m thankful that I had the tools to be proactive in this area of my life.
I feel immensely thankful for the research that has already been done. I’m so thankful that there are some super-smart scientists and physicians out there working and receiving funding for research so that people like me can be proactive and so that people who are faced with the disease can beneﬁt from new treatments. I believe strongly in The DONNA Foundation and its mission.