I was born here in Jacksonville at Baptist Hospital, went to Bishop Kenny High School and Florida State University, live in Atlantic Beach, and hope to be here for the rest of my life.
It was my honor to serve this community as an award-winning journalist and evening news anchor for First Coast News. My goal was always to challenge both sides of an issue, hold those in power accountable, and shed light on how issues impact our community. Most of all, I wanted to champion the truth.
My biggest challenges have come outside the newsroom. I’ve faced cancer three times. I was lucky to have a great job and good insurance. Others haven’t been as fortunate as me or had the advantages that I’ve had. I’ve heard so many stories like Robin’s. She was denied surgery because her husband, a construction worker, had to buy a used truck when his broke down. That somehow threw them off Medicaid.
I decided I needed to do more and founded the DONNA Foundation to provide financial assistance to families facing breast cancer.
I also created 26.2 with Donna: The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer. The event has raised millions to support breast cancer research and to provide help to families who too often are crushed under the debt of a cancer diagnosis. I run the race myself each year. The first time was after my third cancer diagnosis. It was time to live a life without fear.
It’s only by the grace of God that I’m healthy and here with you today. Everyone deserves the opportunity to make that healing journey. That’s why I’m ready to run another type of race. It’s going to be uphill most of the way.
But it’s nothing compared with what I’ve already been through.
At the top of that hill lies a better future, not just for me but for all of us. It’s a future where no one must choose between food and life saving medication. It’s one where kids can spend their time in school learning to be good family members and citizens, not worrying about whether this latest active shooter drill is just a drill. It’s one where we protect our coast and future generations from the ravages of climate change. And it’s one where we can grow older knowing that our health and dignity will be protected and revered.
We can get there together. This isn’t just about who I am. It’s about who we can be together. I hope you’ll join me.
Let’s take it to the House.