Yana Hempler was a finalist in the Top 20 Under 40 Business and Community Achievement Awards, recognizing young business professionals across Vancouver Island. (Photo submitted)

Saanich woman making strides for community

Yana Hempler a finalist in the Top 20 Under 40 Business and Community Achievement Awards

A Saanich woman again found herself in the running as one of Vancouver Island’s top professionals under 40.

Yana Hempler was a finalist in the Top 20 Under 40 Business and Community Achievement Awards, recognizing young business professionals across Vancouver Island.

“Making it to the finalist stage is a huge honour amongst very many successful community and business leaders,” said Hempler, who has been named a finalist in each of the last three years. “I definitely believe that I will need to significantly step up my game in order to win one of the 20 coveted spots.”

Hempler caught the judges’ attention for her work on Run4Dreams, a virtual 5k race with proceeds from the registration donated to the Help Fill a Dream Foundation. Participants can run the five kilometres at the time and place of their choosing, and then submit the results through a running app. It was an idea that came to her during a run back in 2016.

“I had just finished work and was doing my regular 10k lap around the Victoria Airport, when the idea of Run4Dreams came into my head. The idea was to create a virtual 5k race that inspires cubicle dwellers, who are runners and walkers of all levels, to be active, live a healthy lifestyle and give back to the community,” said Hempler, whose latest Run4Dreams effort raised $600 for the Help Fill a Dream Foundation.

“When it comes to being a part of Run4Dreams, it doesn’t matter if you are an elite athlete, or an office worker who jogs occasionally, or a walker who is just exploring the idea of running.”

Hempler will next tackle her first ultra-marathon when she takes part in the Cedar Ultra 24-Hour Race starting June 1 to raise money for Help Fill a Dream Foundation through the Canada Helps website.

Hempler doesn’t know if she will get a fourth crack at the Top 20 Under 40 Awards, but plans to continue making a difference in the lives of those around her.

“Regardless of whether I get nominated again next year or not, I will keep on striving to do good things for the community as much as I can,” she said. “All I can do is try to do my part in making the world a better place, even if it’s just a small part. At the end of the day, whether I win or lose, I will be happy knowing that I helped.”

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