Author of the book, "Standing Tall: The Marvel of Our Existence is Incredible"

About the Author

Donna Lancaster, author of Standing TallDonna Lancaster was born with a congenital defect that left her without knees, lower legs or hip joints. Weighing less than four pounds at birth, doctors said she would never be able to walk. But at 11 months, Donna did walk, proof of a strong character that would go a long way in helping her get through the obstacles to come.

Donna’s parents chose to raise her as if she were free of any birth defects, and in doing so, gave Donna the courage to act as if she were any other child her age. When all her friends started riding bikes, she begged her parents for one until they finally caved in. After several scrapes and tumbles, Donna learned to ride the bike even though her feet couldn’t reach both pedals at once.

During her junior year at the University of Kansas at Lawrence, Kansas, Donna wrote to the Mayo clinic inquiring about the possibility of wearing artificial legs. She was then referred to Erick Hanicke at the P.W. Hanicke Company in Kansas City, Kansas. Erick learned the craft of limb making from his uncle, P.W., and would later create the prosthetic legs Donna wore for the next three decades.

Hesitant to wear the artificial limbs at first, Donna found it was just easier to look like everyone else around her, and being 20 inches taller made that possible. For the first time in her life, she could greet people at eye level.

Soon after, while working as a medical technician, Donna bought her first car. The vehicle was equipped with special hand controls so she could drive without the use of her legs. Later on, she would fly a plane in the same manner, with hand controlled brakes and rudders. In addition to being a pilot and medical technician, Donna has also worked as a real estate broker, aircraft dispatcher and ground school instructor.

Today Donna Lancaster lives near Lake Whitney, Texas and is thoroughly enjoying retired life. In addition to her hobbies, which include playing bridge and flying, Donna shares her story at 12-Step meetings and conventions across the United States and Canada. She was introduced to the program through Neal, Donna’s ex-husband and a recovering alcoholic. Standing Tall is her first book

A Note From Donna

Medical advice offered no chance that I would ever walk. However, I did walk–only I was half as tall as anyone else. At the age of twenty I had the opportunity to wear artificial legs that made me 5’8″ instead of 3’10”. The experience was incredible. Thirty-two years later I decided to be short again. Actually this is only the framework for a story about my spiritual evolving. The first part of the book is about the ‘can do’ gal who could handle whatever came her way. Then came the ‘crash’ and all the preconceived ideas about living went out the window. There I stood-empty of all the beliefs and concepts I had lived by, hoping that someday I would find peace. The old ideas and concepts just did not work. After the ‘crash’ came 18 months of nothing. Then Life presented me with some ideas to check out. I did and I found them valid. As a result, life took on a different texture. Life is not a struggle to survive, excel, pay the bills and avoid discomfort. It is to be embraced and revered. I, of course, still have many challenges. But my approach to them is one of gratitude, not resistance. –Donna Lancaster