Former reservist targets half a million for hospital

Yana Hempler holds a placard boasting her summer fund raising achievement.

Yana Hempler holds a placard boasting her summer fund raising achievement.

Peter Mallett
Staff Writer

These days, Yana Hempler runs with a purpose.

The former army reservist and long-distance runner has taken to the trails and streets of Victoria to raise money for the Victoria Hospitals Foundation to help expand and enhance the critical care capacity, now and into the future.

What started out as a summer challenge of 12 marathons in 12 days, raising $15,000, has flourished into a $500,000 personal year-long fundraising challenge.

“With the [COVID-19] pandemic, our healthcare heroes have been working even harder and longer and I cannot thank them enough. This fundraiser is my way of showing support for the amazing work they do and for the many lives they’ve saved, including one of my best friends back in 2019.”

She will run one additional marathon – 42.2 kilometres – for every $15,000 raised. By this time next year, she hopes to complete 33 marathons, a total of 1,406 kilometres. 

“The most important thing through all of this is to pace myself properly during my runs to avoid burnout,” said Hempler, 30.

While she is mentally determined, she admits running so many marathons can lead to physical fatigue. After completing the 12 marathons between July 24 and Aug. 4, she has remained injury free so far and says proper training and preparation has made a big difference.

It’s not the first time she has raised money for charity.

In 2013 she ran 495 kilometres from Port Hardy to Mile 0 in support of three local charities – the Mustard Seed Food Bank, Recreation Integration Victoria, and the B.C. SPCA. In 2015, she and a friend ran from Duncan to Victoria in another fundraiser. A year later, she launched her charity Run4Dreams to provide financial assistance for sick children and their families through an online virtual race that involved 32 competitors in four Canadian cities.

Hempler currently works in the supply chain for aircraft manufacturer Viking Air but previously spent three years as a logistics officer with 39 Service Battalion. When she is not working, she is coaching runners to help them achieve their goals and run injury free.

“I hope anyone who reads this story will find it in their heart to support the Victoria Hospitals Foundation for the great work they do,” said Hempler. “I hope to inspire others to take on an adventure or an initiative that is meaningful to them, recognizing that they can and will make a difference.”

Those interested in making a donation to Hempler’s latest initiative can do so here:


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