ABILITIES BUZZ MAGAZINE 2018
Donna On The Go: Two Women, an iPhone and a Walker
Abilities Expo Ambassador Donna Russo met Peggy Lane almost two years ago and they became lifelong friends. After seeing how hard even the simplest things can be for Donna—just getting her mail, or getting to her car—Peggy decided to film some things. Once while at Target, the two women shopped and they couldn't stop laughing. Donna had a hard time with the scooter—lining it up, and starting it up. Donna is little 4'5" and doesn't even weigh 90 lbs - so the scooter didn't even recognize that she was on it. After looking at what she shot on her iPhone, Peggy thought this could be a show. She teased Donna about how long it takes her to get around and called her Donna On The Go.
Thus, a show was born—a show they submitted for an EMMY last year!
People like Margo Martindale, Frances Fisher, Sarah Paulson, Dave Mandel (Creator of VEEP) all loved it.
Donna's Strength and Tenacity in the Face of Disability Makes her Series Great
Donna has Turner Syndrome and FSH Muscular Dystrophy, two conditions are unrelated and are two separate issues that have challenged her life.
Donna was diagnosed with Turner Syndrome at around the age of 10. Turner's is a genetic condition that affects the female gender with a partial or completely missing X chromosome.
Every case of Turner Syndrome is different, and less than 2% of Turner Babies conceived survive to birth. Learn more about this condition at The Turner Syndrome Society of the United States.
FSH Muscular Dystrophy affected Donna later in adult life. FSH robs the muscles slowly of strength. It is a condition that gradually sneaks up on the muscles of the face, shoulders and upper arms.
Learn more about this condition at fshsociety.org.
To add to the challenges, she broke her hip. However, these are not the reasons Peggy thought to make a show about her. What drew her instead is is the way Donna reacts to the hand she has been dealt. She still goes dancing, wheelchair dancing and contemporary dancing. While it takes her way more time to get around than most, she still forges on and goes.
That's why Lane got the idea to do a show about her. To give people hope and to champion Donna.
Producer Seeks to Raise Disability Awareness While Entertaining
Peggy Lane grew up in Chicago where she did some modeling as a child and went on to perform in many plays including The Miracle Worker which she says gave her enormous empathy for those with challenges.
She went on to perform in commercials and her band Promise was signed to a recording deal. That prompted a move out to Los Angeles and she soon began acting on shows like Seinfeld, King of Queens and Will & Grace.
Eventually Peggy realized that all of her experiences lent themselves to producing. To date she has produced more than 30 projects, with more in the works, but she is the most proud of Donna On The Go. She hopes it will raise awareness and still be entertaining.
Donna On The Go deals with the simple challenges like trying to get on an elevator when you're slower than everyone else. Or having to use a handicapped ramp that is a block away from the stairs. Or figuring out how to get to the underground parking when the elevator is out.
Donna On The Go Season 1 ( yes, there will be a Season 2 ) ends with an Episode called Performance about a dance choreographed by Tam Warner called "Fall For You" which was showcased at the Abilities Expo in Los Angeles in Feb of last year. It is a beautiful and moving dance about "all kinds of falling"—falling in and out of love, and the fear of actually falling when you're not sure how you can get up.
"Fall For You" will also be a part of Season 2 of Donna On The Go—the dance, now completed and filmed professionally will be presented on the Season Finale.
Don't miss it.
For more information on Donna On The Go, visit www.donna-on-the-go.com.
Meet Donna and Peggy in person at Abilities Expo Los Angeles,
February 23-25, 2018.