Running a half-marathon (13.1 miles) is, for many, quite an accomplishment. For Dawn Dacquisto, of San Diego, running 3x half marathons in one summer meant quite a bit more.
Five years ago, Dawn was in a horrible bicycle accident, temporarily losing the use of her hands and one arm. Dawn has endured multiple surgeries, physical setbacks, and massive pain. After her accident, running just one half-marathon was not on her radar.
Dawn managed to remain hopeful of her recovery through her darkest times with the help of the San Diego Zoo’s Panda Cam. Patients around the world credit ‘animal therapy’ with helping them heal and recover sooner.
Dawn fell in love with pandas and other endangered species. She enjoyed watching the pandas play with each other.
Eventually, with the OK of her doctors, Dawn started running again. Getting back on her feet was anything but easy. But for Dawn, it was the only option.
She signed up and completed the Carlsbad Half Marathon in January, then the La Jolla Half Marathon in April. She qualified for the Half Marathon Triple Crown Challenge so she signed up for the America’s Finest City Half Marathon in August in order to complete the challenge. For all three races, Dawn raised money for the San Diego American Association of Zoo Keepers. Her goal was to raise money and awareness for pandas and other endangered species.
Friend and fellow pacer, Ann Knutson, contacted Giftovus with Dawn’s story and we couldn’t wait to leap into action! We reached out to the Random Acts Of Kindness Meetup group in San Diego for help and were able to get fellow do-gooders to head to Balboa Park on race day to cheer for Dawn. We had a special set up for Dawn at the finish line and shared Dawn’s story with San Diego 6 The CW’s morning show.
The hot August sun was no obstacle for Dawn! She successfully completed the Triple Crown Challenge this past Sunday and we were with her every step of the way. After the race Giftovus surprised Dawn with all things PANDA! We had panda cupcakes, panda cookies, and panda shaped chocolates. We also had a panda goody bag filled with all sorts of surprises!
A very special THANK YOU to everyone who helped us make Dawn’s day extra special:
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