Deegan at a book signing
|Born||Donna Elizabeth Hazouri
February 28, 1961
Jacksonville, Florida, United States
|Other names||Donna Hicken
|Notable credit(s)||Anchor for WTLV/WJXX|
Dan Hicken (divorced)
|Children||Danielle & Drew Hicken|
Donna Deegan (born February 28, 1961) is an American author, breast cancer awareness advocate, and former weekday television anchor on First Coast News at WTLV/WJXX in Jacksonville, Florida, United States. Deegan previously co-anchored the weeknight 5:30 and 11 p.m. newscasts of First Coast News.
Deegan was raised on the southside of Jacksonville and graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in 1979. She holds a BS '84 in Communications from Florida State University. She is the niece of former Jacksonville mayor Tommy Hazouri.
Deegan started her career in 1984 as the morning anchor for WTXL in Tallahassee. In 1985, she became the West Palm Bureau Chief for WTVX in Fort Pierce. She then became the morning and noon anchor for WPEC in West Palm Beach where she remained until August 1988. Deegan then took the opportunity to return to her native Jacksonville and became the anchor of the weekend broadcasts on WTLV. In 1993, she became anchor of the 5:30 and 11 p.m. newscasts on WTLV.
She is a member of St. Paul's Catholic Church in Jacksonville Beach. She has two children, Danielle and Drew, from a previous marriage to First Coast News Sports Director, Dan Hicken. She married First Coast News Chief meteorologist Tim Deegan in 2002.
Deegan is a three-time survivor of breast cancer. In 1999, she began her battle, with recurrences in 2002 and 2007. She is the founder of The Donna Foundation, which provides the necessary funds to care for local women living with breast cancer.
On September 19, 2007, Deegan stated that a CT scan showed a small "suspicious" lesion in her lower left lung. A PET scan confirmed the lesion was there, but nothing more was found anywhere in her body. Initially, doctors were uncertain if the lesion was indeed cancer. However, on September 21, 2007, after surgery to remove the lesion, it was confirmed that it was; Deegan yet again went under treatment for cancer, including chemotherapy.
When Donna first joined WTLV in the late 1980s, her on-air name was Donna Clewis. After marrying WTLV's sports director Dan Hicken in 1990, she became known as Donna Hicken. After her marriage to WTLV chief meteorologist Tim Deegan, Donna retained her last name of "Hicken" on the air. However, on October 29, 2007, Donna officially changed her name on newscasts to Donna Deegan. This also coincided with a complete change of the First Coast News graphics package.
In a 'Donna's Journal' entry on the First Coast News website dated November 12, 2007 Mrs. Deegan went on to explain the change:
Hello Folks, Donna Deegan here. For those of you who haven't been watching this past week, where've you been? Seriously, if you haven't had the time to tune in, I have changed my name to, well, my name. So many of you have e-mailed to say "Hey Donna, it's about time!" Well, fortunately the station thought so too. Tim and I have been married for more than five years, and I have been Deegan everywhere but on the air since then. So why now? Well, there is no great strategy here. For some time now the station has been putting together a new look for our news opens, graphics etc. That's a big deal and very expensive so it's not done very often. While making those plans they very graciously asked if I would like to change my on-air name. I talked it over with my kids and with Tim and everyone said "go for it" so I did. That simple. The decision had nothing to do with my recent recurrence. It will be fun to see if I can actually call myself the correct name every day. Between chemo and my normal space cadet nature, I think the betting pool is in full swing.
26.2 with Donna
On June 22, 2006 the Mayo Clinic and The Donna Foundation announced the inaugural run of the 26.2 with Donna: The National Marathon to Fight Breast Cancer, benefiting Mayo Clinic and women living with breast cancer.
The inaugural run of the marathon took place on February 17, 2008. A health expo preceded the race. Deegan had been questioning whether she could run the whole marathon, but she and husband Tim finished in the middle. Over 7,000 runners showed up to run the race. Deegan announced that over $800,000 was raised to benefit the Mayo Clinic and women living with breast cancer. This money was used to help further a plan in which specialized treatment is used, instead of a "one size fits all" treatment.
The second run of the race took place on February 15, 2009. Deegan stated in a recent interview that she was hoping the race would be bigger and better than the inaugural, but cited tough economic times as the reason for the same turnout as the prior year's race. She announced a "memorial mile" for a portion of the race, in which people who have struggled with breast cancer will be remembered.
Awards and recognition
During her career, Deegan has received many awards including the Jacksonville Business Journal Women of Influence Award in 2004 and the Enterprising Women's Leadership Award in 2005. Deegan is also a published author. Her book, The Good Fight, chronicles her second bout with breast cancer and the on-line journal that she kept during that time.
On October 25, 2007, Deegan was honored by Community Connections of Jacksonville at the Omni Hotel. She is the 2007 recipient of the Florence N. Davis Award for Lifetime Achievement.
- "First Coast News Donna Deegan Bio". First Coast News. Retrieved 19 September 2007.
- "Donna's Journal: My Journey Continues". First Coast News. Retrieved 19 September 2007.
- "Cancer Confirmation". First Coast News. Retrieved 21 September 2007.
- Detman, Gary:  First Coast News, November 2, 2007, "Donna Deegan: Why the name change?"
- "Donna Deegan Bio". The Donna Foundation. Archived from the original on July 2, 2007. Retrieved 19 September 2007.
- "The Celebration of Leadership: a Tribute to Excellence Honors First Coast News Anchor Donna Hicken". First Coast News. Retrieved 26 October 2007.[dead link]