This year, he planned to do it again, but during a training run on Oct. 11, he was struck by a car.
After nearly a month in the hospital, Donaldson was able to come home, but he's not well enough to run the half marathon on Dec. 2. Nonetheless, he'll make his $500 commitment to St. Jude because his running buddies are raising the money for him.
Earlier this year, Donaldson's friends held a fundraiser — a run, what else? — in his hometown of Pontotoc, Miss., to help him meet his fundaising goal and also cover the cost of his medical expenses.
An estimated 100 friends and family showed up at the emergency room the night he was hit by a car. Donaldson is a prominent Pontotoc landscaper, and a well-known local football and basketball referee. Pontotoc sports teams are wearing arm bands showing support for his recovery.
“It’s because he has such a spirit. He was so proud of his training, he was trying so hard, because he wanted to do well for the kids of St. Jude,” said his friend and fellow St. Jude Hero, Becky Cates. “We can’t just let that go.”
There’ll be no more training runs for a while. But on race day, Donaldson’s mind will be on that exhilarating run through the St. Jude campus.
“I will be running with them in spirit.”