When Yana Hempler crossed the finish line of her 21st consecutive marathon on Friday, she was greeted by a small crowd of supporters and a large cheque for $10,000.
The Saanich runner is committed to completing 30 marathons in 30 days to raise $500,000 for the Victoria Hospitals Foundation (VHF) and on May 21, she finished her run with some extra fanfare.
Dr. Jeff Eisen, an emergency room physician at Royal Jubilee Hospital (RJH) and Victoria General Hospital (VGH), joined Hempler for the last half of her run on Friday. He’s grateful for her efforts and the support the community has shown for frontline workers.
|Yana Hempler (right) and running companion Dr. Jeff Eisen, an emergency room physician at Royal Jubilee Hospital and Victoria General Hospital, collected a $10,000 cheque from local business Tecnet to contribute to her $500,000 fundraiser for the Victoria Hospital Foundation. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)|
The pair strayed from her usual route – a loop on the Galloping Goose Trail – to end at the Tecnet office on Seymour Place where company president Ed Life, employees and VHF representatives were waiting at a finish line complete with streamers and balloons.
Life hoped a $10,000 contribution would help Hempler get fired up for her last nine days of marathons and encourage others to open their wallets.
Hempler, a Viking Air employee and fitness trainer, is hoping to present a cheque for 50 times the amount to the VHF on May 30. Last year, after running 12 marathons in 12 days, she raised more than $20,000 for the foundation to show her gratitude for healthcare professionals after friend Ian Simpson spent time in the hospital in 2019 with a rare blood illness.
“He’s alive and well because of the care he received,” she said, adding that he’s pledged to donate 10 per cent of the May revenue from his new business, Aardvark Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning, to the fundraiser.
|Yana Hempler completed her 21st consecutive marathon on May 21 as part of her 30 marathons in 30 days campaign to raise $500,000 for the Victoria Hospital Foundation. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)|
This year’s multi-marathon fundraiser was inspired by Dennis Hoy – a man Hempler never got to meet but whom she refers to as her hero. Last year, before his death, Hoy donated $25,000 to her cause, inspiring her to honour his generosity with another, more ambitious fundraiser.
Hempler’s first fundraiser gave the community hope during the first wave of the pandemic and she’s doing it again in the third wave, said Avery Brohman, executive director of the VHF and the runner’s biggest fan. She noted 40 per cent of the equipment at RJH and VGH is purchased with donated funds so Hempler’s contributions are invaluable.
On Friday morning, after finishing her run in four hours and 37 minutes, Hempler surpassed $66,000 in donations. With just nine days left to reach her goal, she was feeling confident. If she reaches $500,000 by May 30, she said she might do a 31st marathon to round out the month – with her usual mid-run snack, fruit-flavoured gummies, in hand.
To make a donation visit justgiving.com/fundraising/yana-hempler.
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