VICTORIA, BC: On Sunday, July 26, 2015, Jerry Hughes and his coach Yana Hempler finished their run from Duncan to Mile 0 in order to raise funds and awareness for the Help Fill a Dream Foundation. Starting at just after 4am, they made the, what turned out to be 63km, journey in under 6 hours.
Above: “Dreams are made possible if you try.” Mile 0, Victoria BC. Photo by Ian Simpson.
This charity is very close to Jerry’s heart because Gardner’s Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, took his father’s life at 33. It turns out that Jerry and his siblings also have the same disorder. However, it was detected early enough that Jerry has been able to overcome it.
Hughes and his siblings also received a dream vacation through the Help Fill a Dream Foundation and he is on a mission to give back. He wants to inspire hope within kids who are suffering from illnesses.
They both agreed that although it was a challenging run, especially towards the end, when they realized that it will end up being longer than 60km, they thought of all the kids who are suffering from rare diseases, disorders and who have no other choice but to be in pain.
“Of course my legs were very sore after the 46km mark, but I wasn’t going to stop because quitting is never an option,” said Yana Hempler.
When Jerry Hughes posted their Garmin data online, he said, “This is what a 63km run looks like. It was hard but nothing compared to what some kids deal with on a daily basis. It was an amazing honour to be able to help fulfil dreams.”
“What this run did for us mentally was huge. About five years ago, I couldn’t even run a block without getting injured or winded, let alone over 60k and over the Malahat. Over the past five years, I’ve put in a lot of time into research on how to train the body properly in order to be able to do these things without getting injured. I’m honoured to be a part of Jerry’s journey because he has shown tremendous improvement in a relatively short period of time. It was a great confidence builder for both of us, especially because it was the longest we’ve ever ran at once,” said Hempler.
As of today, this journey has raised $750 for the Help Fill a Dream Foundation. Even though the run is completed, the fundraising page on Canada Helps will remain open for a few more weeks, in order to hopefully help them achieve their $2500 goal.
“Anything is possible if you believe in yourself and do not to let anyone get you down. Don’t let your diseases define you. Instead, have them make you better and stronger and show the world that you can be like everyone else,” said Hughes.