Jerry Hughes and Yana Hempler at Mile O after completing a 63km run for the Help Fill a Dream Foundation in 2015. The two friends are heavily involved in raising funds for the Help Fill a Dream Foundation. (Photo by Ian Simpson)

Saanich woman runs marathons to make dreams come true

Hempler gutted her way through 122 kms with minimal breaks, to support Help Fill a Dream Foundation

Rick Stiebel/News Staff

With apologies to Tom Petty, Yana Hempler takes “Running Down a Dream” to a whole other level.

Hempler recently ran, walked and gutted her way through 122 kilometres in a 24-hour marathon with no sleep and minimal breaks in support of the Help Fill a Dream Foundation.

This is the second year in a row she has taken part in the gruelling event to raise funds for Help Fill a Dream, which supports children with life-threatening conditions and their families. When asked what inspired her to take on such a daunting task, Hempler offered a variety of reasons.

“One of my friends, Jerry Hughes, had a rare disease that would have killed him if it wasn’t diagnosed and caught early,” Hempler said. “His siblings had it as well. The Help Fill a Dream Foundation made a dream trip to Disneyland possible for Gerry and his family when he was young. Gerry’s now in his 30s and does a lot of fundraising for Help Fill a Dream and the Rare Disease Foundation. I’ve trained him in running and we’ve become really good friends. I’ve met many families and individuals who have been assisted by Help fill a Dream and I’ve seen firsthand the difference it makes.”

READ ALSO: Victoria marathon truly goes the distance

Hempler, who works for Viking Air and part-time as a fitness trainer, developed a passion for running when she was in high school, where she competed at the provincial level.

“I had to stop for a few years due to injuries,” the Saanich resident said. “When I started again in 2011, I could barely run a block.” She now competes in marathons and half marathons in Canada, the U.S. the Caribbean and Europe. “Anything over five ks and I’m there.” She can often be seen running along her favourite trails on the West Shore in preparation for an event in Germany this summer.

Hempler credits David Black for helping instill the importance of giving back. Hempler said the four scholarships she received from Black Press during her business studies at the University of Victoria played an integral role in getting to where she is today. “I’ll always be grateful for David Black’s generosity. I feel I have to give back to the community after what’s been done for me.”

Last year Hempler and Hughes, who she trains, managed to raise $2,500 for the Help Fill a Dream Foundation, a total she hopes to match this year. She’s at $540 so far, with the deadline for online donations ending on July 31.

Anyone who would like to help Hempler get across the finish line to make her dream of achieving her goal of $2,500 come true should run over to make a donation at canadahelps.org/en/pages/yana-hemplers-24-hour-run-for-help-fill-a-dream-fo.

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com


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Yana Hempler recently completed 122 kms in a 24-hour marathon to raise money for the Fill Fill a Dream Foundation. Online donations will be accepted until July 31. (Photo by Heath Moffatt)

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