Oak Hill native, author and two-time breast cancer survivor shares story of perseverance

OAK HILL, WV (WOAY) – Donna Hopkins is making a difference nationwide through her own breast cancer foundation as she was just featured last month on Good Morning America. 

 She is a foundation CEO, a two-time cancer survivor, an amputee, an author and a sports broadcaster, but her story began in Oak Hill where she was raised. She graduated high school from OHHS where she played basketball and ran track.

Upon her graduation from Fairmont State, the athlete took her skills to broadcasting where she has been a host of  Tony McGee’s Pro Football Plus show for years in the Washington D.C. area covering all of D.C.’s pro sports.

However, in 1997, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and then after beating it once, she was diagnosed again in 1999 making her a two-time survivor. She then turned her trials into triumphs creating Hopkins Breast Cancer Inc. to help others. 

“The foundation was set up because being a cancer survivor myself, we’re helping with the immediate need,” Hopkins said. “The immediate need means that we help people with the everyday living expenses that insurance doesn’t pick up.”

Now, she fundraises all over the country, and it has earned her national recognition as she accepted a check on Good Morning America last month for $10,000. 

But it is not  just about her work with breast cancer. She also lost part of her leg back in 2010 to a medical emergency and a bad reaction to blood thinners. She took that experience and not only became an advocate for amputees but also wrote a book titled Getting to the Other Side of Victory.

“And I wrote the book for myself first, but I wrote the book to help other people get through difficult times that they have to go through,” she said. “It may not be what I went through, but everybody goes through difficult situations, but they don’t know how to get through them and keep moving in life, and this book if for anybody that may go through anything.” 

She says after all of her accomplishments and despite the challenges, what she is most proud of is how she gets to help others, a value she learned growing up right here on the Plateau. 

“I really honor being raised in West Virginia and the Oak Hill area, and it’s who I am. It made me who I am as far as all the morals and values coming up in that area, so home is home. I will never forget home no matter where I live at.” 

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Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.