Long-Time LGBTQ Activist Now Fighting Personal Battle

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  She has fought for equality for Iowa’s LGBTQ community, but now a long-time Des Moines activist is fighting her own battle.

On Saturday, Donna Red Wing celebrated her 67th birthday, the day before oncologists told her she has cancer in her liver and lungs.

“Yeah, it’s the fight of my life, you know,” she says.

Cancer is no match for Red Wing, who is used to fighting. For years, she battled for gay and lesbian rights as the former executive of One Iowa. She has also helped run a number of political campaigns. Now the hallways of Methodist Hospital serve as her new campaign headquarters.

“We’re going to treat it like a campaign. We’re going to put together a strategy. We’re assembling a medical team and the other team is everything else. We’re going to ask for what we need and we are going to fight. We’re going to fight like hell.”

The first battled is scheduled to take place on Monday, when Red Wing will undergo her first round of chemotherapy. Doctors have not determined how many rounds of treatment are needed or the current stage of the cancer.