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Actor Ray Proscia, Donna Russo, and Peggy Lane
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Donna On The Go: Creating Awareness through Humor


Editor’s Note:  Both Donna Russo and Peggy Lane have been involved in the entertainment industry for the majority of their lives. Russo, who lives with Turner syndrome and facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, has a degree in dance, toured with ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks,’ and has appeared in several TV shows and films. Lane modeled as a child, studied dance and music, and has worked behind and in front of the camera on series like ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Will & Grace.’ When the two of them went shopping together one day, the frustrating yet comedic events that occurred resulted in an idea for a television series that addresses the everyday struggles people with physical disabilities face. Wheel:Life writer Betsy Bailey sat down with Russo and Lane at Abilities Expo Los Angeles to talk about ‘Donna On The Go.’

Peggy Lane, Donna Russo, and Abilities Expo worker

How did the idea for Donna On The Go come about?

Donna:  Peggy had the idea for a show after we went to Target one day. The electric carts they have don’t always register my weight because I’m so light. That makes it hard to get them to work correctly, so I was crashing into things. Peggy decided to film all of this, and when we took it home and watched it, we both laughed. Peggy said, “Wow! This could be a show!” So we went with it!

Editor’s Note:  Short stature is a common feature among women with Turner syndrome.

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 23: Kevaleen, David Korse, Lew Shormer, Donna Russo, Sarah Lauks and Peggy Lane O'Rourke attend the Screening Of Season 2 of "Donna On The Go" As Part Of The Abilities Expo held at Los Angeles Convention Center on February 23, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

How long ago was the Target incident?

Donna:  That was almost three years ago. We’re in our third season now, and there are six episodes each year. It’s really fun.

Which videos have been the best received?

Peggy:  One of our most viewed videos is “STAIRS.” Donna had told me that when she approaches stairs, it looks like a mountain to her. So, I shot this staircase to look like a mountain, and way down on the other side of the building is the accessible ramp. I scored it to the Pink Panther theme song, and with her walker, Donna slowly begins the arduous journey up the ramp to the door. It took 24 minutes. During that time, we happened to see a delivery guy hop up and down the steps within a few seconds. To make the point, we started shooting in daylight, and it actually turned dark by the time Donna got up the ramp. When we talk about and show the episode at Abilities Expo, so many people relate to that experience.

We’re trying to make it light and funny, but we also want to make a point.

Donna: We also have an episode called “GARAGE” where someone parks in a space reserved for handicapped parking. The show is about how you feel when you can’t park your car in your space and how hard that is for people who really need that spot. It’s a great episode to get that point across.

What other issues are tackled in Donna On The GoDonna Russo with members of cast and crew of Donna On The Go

Donna: We did an episode called “FALL” where Donna has two friends that help her when she falls. The episode portrays the vulnerability you experience when you fall, and then how you feel when people come and help you. It’s a wonderful episode.

Peggy: You could structure a show like “FALL” in many ways. You could end with the fall and have people thinking, “Oh, isn’t that sad.” But, my point of view is that people will help you as long as you have some kind of support system, friends, family, or even an Alexa to be able to call somebody.

There’s always some way to have help and know that you’re not alone. That’s the point of the show.

How does your past experience in television help with Donna On The Go?

JC Henning, Marbry Steward, Peggy Lane, Kim Estes, and Donna RussoDonna:  Peggy produces, directs, edits, and promotes Donna On The Go. She’s a wonderful publicist, and she also does all of the social media. She has worked on shows like King of Queens, Seinfeld, and Will & Grace, so she takes all of that experience and brings it with her to Donna On The Go.

Peggy:  I learned the tone we’re going for, teaching people with humor, on Will & Grace. I was with this particular camera crew with the legendary director Jimmy Burrows, and we worked on several shows together. When we got on Will & Grace, there were some crew guys that weren’t all that thrilled with the theme of the show. It was coming off the heels of Ellen which was a success, but they didn’t think anyone could pull off something like Will & Grace. About five episodes in, there was a Halloween plotline where Jack meets a guy. In the end, it didn’t end up working out between them, and the crew guys, just a few weeks after not being thrilled with the theme, went, “Aww.” And that’s when I thought, “They did it!”

The show worked because the writers made the audience care about the characters, and they made it funny.

That’s my goal with Donna On The Go.

What are your plans for the future of Donna On The Go?

Peggy:  I want to pitch the show to Amazon and Netflix, but I need to build the subscriber base on YouTube first. If anyone would like to watch us on YouTube and subscribe, that would be really helpful. We submitted the show for eight Emmy nominations last year. I’m not messing around. I’m going to get this going!

Donna Russo, Peggy Lane, and Micah Fowler

I’d also like to get famous actors and actresses involved. My goal is to do something like Speechless on ABC. It has a wide outreach and is able to touch and educate people with humor.

Donna:

That’s what we want to do:  educate, create awareness, and entertain.

Editor’s Note:  All ‘Donna On The Go’ episodes are available for free on the YouTube channel and Donna-on-the-go.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel to help build the viewership base. You can also follow along on Facebook @DonnaOnTheGo.

Donna On The Go press reviews

About the Author

betsy-bailey-headshot

Betsy Bailey has a diverse background that includes experience in marketing research, business operations, travel and culinary writing, and playing volleyball professionally overseas.

Betsy has been writing for Wheel:Life since January of 2017 and thoroughly enjoys the process of getting to know her interviewees. She also teaches students learning English as a second language, speaks French fluently, and travels any chance she gets!

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Full Speed Ahead with Endurance Racer Michael Johnson

Editor’s Note: Michael Johnson of Lansing, Michigan, started racing ...

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The Extraordinary Life of Triple Amputee Monica Vickers

Editor’s Note: Monica Vickers was born in 1954 missing both legs ...

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Rick Hayden Rolls on Capitol Hill for Your Rights

When Rick Hayden visited the US Capitol last week, he went with your ...

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Gear Up for Abilities Expo Chicago

Calling all Midwesterners — Abilities Expo is coming to Chicago! As ...

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Run, Jump, and Throw Stuff with Angel City Sports

Editor’s Note: Clayton Frech is the CEO and founder of Los ...

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Sled Hockey with Coach Koz

Editor’s Note: Sled hockey (also known as sledge hockey) is almost ...

Summer Solutions with STYLEDWEL
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Summer Solutions with STYLEDWEL

Editor’s Note: Mary Marshall, founder of STYLEDWEL, created ...

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Following Your Inner Guidance with Kristina Rhoades and How National Ramp is Helping Her Do It

Editor’s Note: Kristina Rhoades is a mom, wife, speaker, writer, ...

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Comfort Conversations: Finding Encouragement Through Peer Support Groups

Join us every other month for Comfort Conversations, a discussion ...

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Allen Beauchamp on Life, Love and Hockey

My name is Allen Beauchamp, and I’m 43 years old. I live in a ...

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Yoocan Get Empowered!

Editor’s Note: Inspired by a family member with disabilities, Moshe ...

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Introducing the Cure Ultra: Ready to Use Catheter for Men

Cure Medical has unveiled the new 16-inch Cure Ultra™ Intermittent ...

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Refuel and Rejuvenate At Abilities Expo New York Metro

East coasters, or anyone within striking distance, gear up for ...

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Criptaedo: Breaking Boards and Barriers

Editor’s note: Paul Brailer, aka Criptaedo, was born with spina ...

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Rolling Forward with Amputee Advocate Stella Sieber

I’m currently 63 years old and live in Durham, North Carolina. ...

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Stroke by Stroke: Moving Forward with Mallory Weggemann

Editor’s Note: At 18 years old, Mallory Weggemann walked into the ...

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Comfort Conversations: Finding Your New Normal After a Spinal Cord Injury

Join us every other month for Comfort Conversations, a discussion ...

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Glenn Moscoso: Wheelchair Daddy

Editor’s note:  Glenn Moscoso is a husband and father living with ...

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Avoiding Slippery Slopes with Garth Walker and National Ramp

Editor’s Note: After selling his prior business, Garth Walker went ...

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The National Sports Center for the Disabled: Finding Self-Confidence through Personal Challenge

Editor’s Note: The National Sports Center for the Disabled, founded ...

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Wheeling around the World with Susie Twydell

Editor’s Note: Based in England, Susie Twydell, an avid traveler ...

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Amplitude Media Group: Closing the Information Gap

Wheel:Life is thrilled to announce their newest community partner, ...

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Accessible Hiking, Camping and Fishing? WOW!  

Editor’s Note: Wilderness on Wheels (WOW) is a foundation and a ...

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Comfort Conversations: Events, Free Packs, and More with James “Woody” Beckham

Editor’s Note: The Woody Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit ...

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Jenn Sexton Shares Her Secret for Independence: An Extra Long Cure Catheter

Jenn Sexton was five weeks pregnant when she and her husband, Thomas, ...

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Glen Schlotterbeck: Reinvent Yourself!

Editors note: As a graduate of the US Air Force Academy, Glen ...

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Educate, Energize, and Enlighten at Abilities Expo Los Angeles

The Abilities Expo is back in Los Angeles and gearing up to show you ...

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Juan Sebastian Betancourt: Changing the Way Businesses Serve People with Disabilities

Editor’s Note: Juan Betancourt is on a path to change the world for ...

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AccessibleIndonesia: Making Travel Accessible in a Non-Accessible Country

Editor’s note: Kerstin Beise, a German physiotherapist, who also ...

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A Lesson on Living Life to the Fullest with Hydred Makabali

Editor’s note: Hydred Makabali, born and raised in England and now ...

Up/Down Team Champions (Top L to R) Shane Hayden, Harold Collins (Seated L to R) Gary Bowling, Kenneth Hill, and Don Law
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Knocking Down The Pins of Life with Wheelchair Bowling Champion Kenneth Hill

Editor’s Note: Fifty-year-old Kenneth Hill from Plainfield, ...

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Take Your Wings and Fly with Denise Horn

Editor’s Note: Fifty-six-year-old Denise Horn of Janesville, ...

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Ashley Hutson Wilson Beat a Small Chance of Survival to Live a Full Life

Editor’s Note: Thirty-one year old Ashley Hutson Wilson from Kyle, ...

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Jam with Mel Bergman: Creator of Wheely Guitars

Editor’s Note: Mel Bergman of Camarillo, California, is the ...

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Gary “Tiger” Balletto: Champion Prize Fighter Who Rolls with the Punches

Editor’s Note: You can capture a ferocious wild tiger and put him ...

9 Robby Heisner
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Meet Robby Heisner: Creative Entrepreneur on Wheels

Editor’s Note: Robby Heisner of Smyrna, Georgia ...

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The National Rifle Association’s Adaptive Shooting Program with Dr. Joseph Logar

Dr. Joseph Logar Editor’s Note: Dr. Joseph Logar has his doctorate ...

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The Rollettes Take On an E.P.I.C. Project to Empower Others

Editor’s Note: Chances are, you’ve seen these ladies ...

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Speak Up Now to Save Your Wheelchair: Fight Medicare Cuts

Your window is narrowing to preserve access to mobility equipment – ...

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Go Further Together with GRIT: Stories of Community Support

Our friends at GRIT, the makers of the revolutionary Freedom Chair, ...

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Paralyzed Veteran’s Mom Awarded Dream Trip by ElDorado Mobility

Editor’s Note: Serving our country as a military service member is ...

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Wheelchair Karate: Attack the Attacker with Kenneth Perry

Editor’s Note: Kenneth Perry from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ...

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Ditch Your Chair to Sit-Ski the Slopes with Tom Cannalonga 

Editor’s Note: Fifty-two-year-old Tom Cannalonga lives in Edison, ...

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Welcome to Wheel:Life

We are so glad you’re here! Wheel:Life is a global initiative ...

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