"Drum Lady" helps keep marathon runners going during St. Jude run

by: Tony Atkins Updated:

Tens of thousands of feet hit the pavement for a good cause on Saturday.

The St. Jude Memphis Marathon closed off a lot of streets throughout the city, causing a minor inconvenience for some drivers, but a miracle for patients.

A few hours into the marathon, the line of runners was still as long as the eye could see.                                    

Twenty-three thousand participants made their way along the river, through downtown, midtown and back.

And there to help keep their spirits up, Donna Palmer at mile seven along parkway north. She's been there, every year, for nearly a decade.

"I wanted to support so I.... Brought my drum,” Palmer said. "They're heroes. It's what they're doing for the St. Jude kids. I'm a lazy person, I don't run.”


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But Donna is hardly lazy. She spends each race, on her neighborhood sidewalk, drumming for hours on end.

For these runners, she'd drum even longer if she needed to, even if her hands hurt a little...

"They get sore but nothing compared to somebody running a marathon,” Palmer said.

Earning her the nickname, “Drum Lady.”

It's appreciated by more than 100,000 runners who've pounded the pavement in her neck of the woods for the past eight years.

"I've had people come up to me, just shopping or whatever and ask, 'do you sit on north parkway and drum for the St. Jude runners."

Donna said she's going to keep drumming any time these runners, these heroes, make their way around.

The run raised over $10 million on Saturday afternoon.

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