Esther Horner was one of the thousands of people who participated in the annual marathon in Reykjavik on Saturday. Unlike many of the other participants, however, the 55-year-old retired nurse did so for a particularly good cause, raising money for diabetes after working for 38 years in health care.
Team Diabetes, a charity that raises money for research, sent Horner off to Iceland after months of training. Sixty other runners from Canada joined Horner to raise money and run for a cure to the chronic illness.
Horner said that she had been planning this for a long time. She said that three years ago, she was in Cardiac Rehab and she promised herself that once she was better, she would take advantage of her good health. ”I promised myself that once those restrictions were lifted, that I would do something to enhance someone’s life, and thought about it, and decided to do a charity marathon. And I always thought it would be good to do something the year that I retire, the year I turn 55. So, this is my year.”
During her work as a nurse for the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, Horner met many diabetes patients and was particularly inspired by a young boy. ”I have witnessed firsthand the life challenges patients have to face when diagnosed with diabetes such as dialysis, amputations, visual impairments. I joined Team Diabetes because it offered me an opportunity to not only create an awareness of the disease but to honour the memory of a special patient, Reno Corazza, who lost his battle. It also allows me the chance to show my support for Joe Stupendick and Albina Zubec as their battle continues.”
Horner raised $7,000 for research into a cure for diabetes. The marathon was held in Reykjavik on August 18th and was attended by 11,300 runners competing in five categories including the marathon, half marathon and 10 kilometre race.
Olympic gold medallist, Stefano Baldini, who competed in Athens in 2004 came second in the half marathon. The top Norwegian runner, Grete Waitz also participated in the women’s marathon this year.