Donna Penny is a Sunshine Coast mother of two living on borrowed time. Diagnosed with breast cancer at just 35 years of age she underwent a double mastectomy and was given the all clear until the cancer returned five years later and she was given the devastating news that it had spread to other parts of her body. Despite receiving such heart-wrenching news Donna fulfilled her dream and opened a hair salon with her two best friends.
Given just two years to live, Donna is what she calls past her ‘expiry date’ and is living every day to the fullest. Aside from the challenge of battling cancer, one of the biggest hurdles that both Donna and her husband Jason had to face was trying to explain her diagnosis to her children. This challenge was one of the many that inspired Donna to write the book, “Why my Mummy?” and to reach out to those who have also been touched by cancer. By doing this Donna aims to leave a legacy behind for her family and the world to remember her by.
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When Donna Penny was first diagnosed with cancer she searched high and low for a children’s book about cancer to help explain to her 9-year-old son Kai what was happening to her. However all she could sadly come across was doom, gloom and disaster.
One morning on the way to school, Kai asked his dad, “Why out of all the mummy’s in the world does this have to happen to my mummy?” This impossible question inspired Donna to pen the heartfelt children’s book “Why My Mummy?” that is written through the eyes of her son Kai.
“I wanted to create something bright that would be child-friendly, using language he could understand.”
In February 2016, Donna partnered up with Sunshine Coast creative design agency What The Fox and created “Why My Mummy”. After the design and marketing of Donna’s book a crowd funding campaign was launched and “Why My Mummy” received both national and global recognition. Featuring in The Daily Mail, The Huffington Post and The Project “Why My Mummy” received an overwhelming response. As a result Donna’s crowdfunding campaign received two times its pledged goal, meaning that “Why My Mummy?” could be officially published. Copies of the book will be distributed throughout hospitals, schools and libraries across Australia with easy access to those who are dealing with cancer.
“Why My Mummy” explores both the emotional and physical journey that cancer touches to each family. This beautiful book is the first of many of a series that Donna intends to write to support families at different stages on the cancer journey.
“I want families who are going through this to be able to read it together and not be intimidated by it because it doesn’t use big, intimidating words, it’s just explaining cancer the way we explain it in our family.”
Donna Penny’s story is one that will make you laugh and cry. Her courage and passion for living will inspire audiences to fight for what’s important in life. Donna’s message is relevant to a wide range of audiences, as she dishes the dirt on cancer, motherhood and friendship.