About 30 kilometres into her 50 kilometre run, Sheila Henry was struggling.
She had begun to suffer stomach problems that would add roughly an hour to her travel time, her ankles were tender, and she was exhausted.
A video clip taken by boyfriend Jamie Cross, who ran the distance with her, showed Henry almost in tears, but still in motion.
“How are you doing?” Cross asked.
“I’m having a hard time,” she replied.
“You’re doing amazing,” he told her.
“I’m proud of you.”
She wiped her eyes and kept going.
The day after she completed her journey to raise awareness about the overdose crisis and mental health issues, a tired but triumphant Henry told the Langley Advance Times that giving up was never an option.
“It was going to happen even if I have to walk,” she recalled.
She arrived at the finish line about an hour behind schedule, but she finished.
Henry, a Walnut Grove resident, ran from Langley City to Vancouver on Saturday, Oct, 10, World Mental Health Day to “raise awareness and to support the fight against stigma of mental health, substance use, and the overdose crisis.”
A nurse who has seen the impact of the drug overdose crisis firsthand, Henry is a single mom who has battled depression and anxiety, as have her two “intelligent, beautiful, amazing, adult daughters.”
She set a fundraising goal of $1,000.
Henry has now set a new goal of $5,000.
“We’re so close,” she commented.
“I got donations from people I don’t even know,” she enthused.
“It’s been incredible.”
Henry began her journey at Innes Corner Plaza in Langley City, making stops in Surrey, New Westminster and Burnaby before reaching Strathcona Park in Vancouver (857 Malkin Ave.).
New to running, she had been training since July.
As tired and aching as she was at the end, Henry was pleased that she made it the whole way with no blistered or damaged toenails, injuries that had plagued her while she was training.
And she was grateful a tentative forecast of rain failed to materialize on Saturday.
“It was amazing,” she said of the weather conditions on the day of the run.
On the Sunday, the day after the run, she got up and took her dogs for a walk.
She doesn’t think she will do another 50K run any time soon, but some shorter events, such a half-marathon, are a possibility.
The BCCDC Foundation for Public Health aims to raise $30,000 before the end of the year to support programs across the province that are working to combat the overdose crisis.
To learn more about Henry’s campaign or to donate visit www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/50-k-run-to-raise-awareness or visit her Instagram page at www.instagram.com/livingthishumanlife.