On July 26, Jerry Hughes and his coach, Yana Hempler, will be running 60k from Duncan to Victoria in order to raise funds and awareness for Help Fill a Dream Foundation.
Hughes and his siblings were born with a rare disease called Gardner’s Syndrome – which took their father’s life at the age of 33. Gardner’s Syndrome is both a rare and aggressive genetic disorder; if it’s not detected early, the prognosis is not good, with the average life expectancy of 35-45 years old.
Help Fill A Dream is a charitable foundation, whose goal is to “inspire hope, help and happiness for Vancouver Island children under the age of 19 with life-threatening conditions by fulfilling their dreams, improving their quality of life and assisting their families with care and financial support.”
Jerry’s fitness journey began about 2 years ago, with bootcamp. He then participated in Fight 4 The Cause, which transformed his life both physically and mentally. Shortly thereafter, he participated in the TC 10k and then Oak Bay half, completing them in 44:43 and 1:40:43, respectively. “These are not typical times for first time 10k and half marathon runners,” said coach Yana Hempler.
“I have done a series of runs since then and I keep on getting better. Now, I’m doing marathons and ultra marathons as well as many other races. I’m doing it to show my sons, who have a 50% chance of getting my disease, to not let the illness define their life but that they should carve their own path regardless of the circumstances,” said Hughes.
Jerry’s goal is to inspire other people who have rare disorders to believe in themselves and to follow their dreams.”The mind is a powerful tool and you can do anything you want in life. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. Carve your own path and you will inspire the world.”
Those interested in making a donation or sponsoring the run can do so through Canada Helps or contact Jerry Hughes at jhugh30 (at) hotmail (dot) com