Donna describes herself as a, “plus-size woman with a trendy soul!” She loves shopping for clothing and accessories that speak to her…she has a large collection of handbags, scarves, jewelry, shoes and clothing, and she is definitely known for her style!
She is also the wife of the most wonderful, active-duty soldier, the mother of four fabulous boys, and the grandmother to one loving and funny little boy (Leon Gabriel) who is the apple of her eye! Donna is currently stationed with her husband in Colorado where she happily enjoys the majestic views of Pikes Peak — and in a surprising little twist — Donna is currently a full-time student, pursuing a doctorate in Neuropsychology (more on that impressive detail later)!
Donna married young and was happy to concentrate on raising her children — and, at the ripe old age of 38, she went back to school to earn her nursing degree! Tragically, however, at 39, she became a young widow. In a devastating turn of events, Donna’s husband collapsed while sitting across from her at dinner while they were out celebrating her birthday. Donna administered CPR, but her husband was gone. It came as a terrible shock, and she remembers very little of that evening except that it was a cold night in March. In spite of (or maybe because of) this tragedy, however, Donna has learned to be as positive as possible — especially because she knows, “the hole she had to crawl out of to be where she is today.” She says, “never judge a book by its cover because you never know what’s inside.” And, she tries to pass optimism and the love of life to others by always doing at least one good deed for the day.
So, why the interest in Neuropsychology?
Donna always wanted to be a brain surgeon … she even performed delicate “operations” on her dolls as a little girl! She describes Neuropsychology as the study of brain – behavior relationships. Those with Alzheimer’s, Epilepsy, Parkinson’s (among others), and those suffering from traumatic brain injury are some of the people she is passionate about helping. She says it is devastating to watch these patients face such adversity, and she wants to make sure they have the best quality of life they can. Donna will be writing her doctorate dissertation on her research around Mirror Therapy — a therapy currently used to re-train the neurons in the brain to treat Phantom Limb Syndrome. Donna hopes to prove that Mirror Therapy can successfully be used to help Alzheimer’s patients, when first diagnosed, to inhibit or reverse the progression of this devastating disease. “If I could save just one person, I would be thrilled,” she says, “But to possibly save thousands? I would be elated!” What a beautiful, heartfelt purpose….
Love has found its way back to Donna who is now married 6 years to her wonderful husband, Darren, whom she first met when she was only 15 and he was 16! Darren will retire from the military in about a year and a half, and this will give them time to enjoy more of their unusual road-trips together — “We like to travel and get lost! We get in the car and drive, and wherever we land, we make the best of it!! You just never know where life will bring you,” she says! It all began with two teenagers who fell in love and are still very much in love today.
Also, you can always find Donna in the kitchen, as she LOVES to cook and bake. She says it’s a great way to connect with friends, and, of course, it’s where family comes together — “In a world of hate and darkness, I find such comfort within my own walls.”
Today, Donna is in love with her new Laurie Felt Flare denim — “The vintage wash is spectacular!” She especially adores the unique hem/border at the bottom and the delicious silky denim! Donna says you really can’t go wrong with any of Laurie’s styles, and any woman can feel beautiful in her pieces — “It’s like Garanimals for grown-ups! You can mix and match Laurie Felt designs to your heart’s content!”
You are a true star, Donna! We are honored to have you as a Heartfelt Role Model.