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Donna Campisi

Author, Inspirational Speaker, Personal Development

Donna Campisi is marathon runner with heart, and with a difference. At eight years old, she survived a stroke and doctors said she would never walk or talk again. At fourteen, she was in a critical condition and diagnosed with Diabetes Type 1.

In 2012, she set her own challenge: a campaign called Run Donna Run. She planned to go from being able to run only 30 steps in November, to completing a marathon in October the following year.

Her success raised funds for the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation, inspired a great many followers, and proved “there is no such thing as can’t”! Donna is a woman who takes a challenge and believes it is achievable when broken into ‘baby steps’ and having the right mindset. She explains with confidence “Don’t just take opportunities when they come. Make opportunities!”

What have been the highlights of your career?

Helping others achieve: I get a buzz when I see the excitement, the look of achievement or even that ‘a-ha’ moment. It was also positively overwhelming receiving the wonderful support from people who follow Run Donna Run, especially through my 11 months of training from 30 steps to a marathon, and having beautiful people meet me at different points of the marathon to run with me, it still brings tears to my eyes when thinking about it. I have met so many amazing people and gained friendships through Run Donna Run, which is a highlight for me. Raising the huge amount of funds for the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation too. There are so many highlights with Run Donna Run.

What are you passionate about?

Inspiring, encouraging and helping people follow their dream, the big scary goal that seems too hard. There are ways to get around obstacles. Self-belief is the first step!

What themes are recurring in your work?

Excellent communication with relationship and rapport skills. I’m an innovative and creative thinker and doer. I’ve learned to think outside the box throughout my career. I show initiative without fear.

Where were you born?

Mildura, North-West Victoria.

What other jobs have you had?

Sales, marketing, leadership/team building training & coaching roles. I’ve worked in the disability field, and in fundraising positions supporting communities/organisations in which I am passionate about.

Where have your works been published?

Turn Dreams Into Reality is my eBook that you can get from I am also a contributor in the Inspiration Bible, which is published in Australia and found on my website too.

Haven’t I seen you before?

You may have seen me in the media, including Runner’s World, Women’s Running, The Herald Sun and SEN1116 and more. I have appeared on websites and social media too eg. sponsors. I am an ambassador for Diabetes Australia, Vic., Sub4 Apparel and On-Running.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I’m a regular blogger on, where I share my inspiration, and I’m in the process of writing a book of my story.


Thank you for coming to our school last Thursday. Your speech meant a lot to all the 130 students. I loved your quote “There’s no such thing as can’t.” That will stick in my head forever. I will not forget your speech as it was very moving, thank you so much Donna! 

—Year 11 Student, Glen Waverley Secondary College, February 2016

Hey Donna, I was one of the 130 students you talked to yesterday and I just wanted to say that you really inspired me. It’s amazing how you accomplished so much despite your unfortunate stroke. We really enjoyed your presentation and your story has definitely touched as all. As I was walking home I thought to myself, “If Donna can do so much, what’s stopping me? There’s no such thing as can’t.” It’s a quote I’ll never forget because it’s so true…Thank you so much for impacting my life in such a positive way.

—Year 11 Student, Glen Waverley Secondary College, February 2016

Donna spoke to our Grade 5/6 students today about her life journey after her stroke when she was 7 years old. She was very engaging and an absolute inspiration. Her motto “The Power is in ME” was very powerful. This certainly sent a strong message with our students.

—K. Stenning, Principal, Echuca South Primary School, February 2016

Donna really taught that if you can believe it, you can achieve it. Whatever you put your mind to. Nothing can be limiting, you know…money, anything, knowledge or even age. I am only 15. It’s really opened my eyes to the world around me and what it has to offer. Thank you very much. I really recommend Donna. She’s fabulous!

—Student of Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar, 2012

Donna was a dynamic and well prepared speaker. She interacted with students very well and used every second she had to inspire. We could have listened to Donna’s story for longer than the time we had together and the video helped engage us as an audience. I had to tell everyone about Run Donna Run.

—R. Byrne, Student Coordinator – Mildura Senior College, 2015

Thank you for sharing your life’s challenges and struggles, with our students. They were inspired by your determination to get back on your feet and your commitment to achieve your goal. Your talk also made me
realise that setting goals is one thing, but what’s more important is being able to express valid ‘reasons’ for wanting to achieve our goals. Changing our mindset and suppressing thoughts of doubt would indeed help
us get closer to our goals. Ultimately, ‘The Power is in Me!’ You couldn’t have said it better and it’s the one message that still resonates with our students.

—A. Romios, Teaching and Learning Advisor, Galilee Regional Catholic Primary School, South Melbourne, 2015

Donna spoke at our corporate breakfast meeting ‘The Power is in Me!’ She speaks from the heart with honesty and humility and engaged everyone with her life story. Donna is truly inspirational and left us all believing that the power to make change and accept challenges really is in us.

Everyone went away with a positive start to the day and I have had the following feedback from some of the participants.

‘I thoroughly enjoyed Donna’s presentation’

‘Donna is an inspiration’

‘Donna showed that there really is no such thing as can’t’

‘Donna was so easy to listen to and her story was amazing’

‘I had a lump in my through and then was laughing’

‘It was interesting to hear how Donna has tackled her challenges’

Thank you again and we wish you all the best for your future RunDonnaRun challenges.

—J. Heaysman, Education Projects Officer - Education Projects, Sunraysia Institute of Technical and Further Education, 2014

Members in attendance felt the Event was well presented with an awesome Guest Speaker! YOU. You spoke with warmth & clarity. The film clip was supported by your ‘story’ and everyone’s attention was captured by it. You were able to convey your story of struggle & achievement and to leave us with a message to ‘never give up’.  You can do it. Once again thank you for your presentation.

— E. Mazza, MAIOP, President, AIOP Mildura Chapter, 2015.

Donna is an inspiration. Her experience of overcoming tremendous personal challenges to achieve the impossible, delivers great insight and impact. Her engaging style of presentation combined with frankness and humility has inspired me and most people I know who have had the opportunity to engage with Donna.

—S. Wahid, Director, VFS Global Services, 2012

Hearing Donna speak tonight it’s so personal that she’s opened up, I just think it’s fantastic and I recommend this to anybody.

—Dr C. Fremder, Podiatrist and Owner of Carnegie Foot and Leg Clinic, 2012.

When Donna presents, it’s with authenticity direct from her heart. You cannot help but to connect with her ‘Hero’s Journey’. She speaks with warmth, compassion and a wisdom that only life experience allows you to share. She is truly inspirational.

—K. Townsend, Founder Bucket List Coaching, 2011.

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