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Mount Sinai nurse carries Pan Am torch

July 13, 2015

Mount Sinai nurse Paul Van Nostrand with Toronto Pam Am Games mascot Pachi

Running with the Pan Am Games torch wasn’t much of a physical challenge for Research Nurse Paula Van Nostrand — she already has 14 Ironman Triathlons under her belt. But the 500-metre run with the torch was still a thrill for Paula, who describes herself as a reformed couch potato.

“I want to give people hope that anyone can do this,” said Paula, a diabetes researcher at Mount Sinai’s Leadership Sinai Centre for Diabetes.

Twelve years ago, Paula, a self-proclaimed couch potato, was inspired to join a triathlon, with just seven weeks to train. She says that first triathlon ignited a lifelong love of racing that has been fuelled by her research on exercise and diabetes.

So when Paula found out the Pan Am Games were coming to Toronto, she not only signed on to volunteer for her favourite sport events (triathlon and bike road race), she applied to become a torchbearer  – an experience she soaked up on July 7.

“It was an incredible experience and I was so grateful to have many of my friends and colleagues, as well as lots of strangers, come out to cheer me on in the pouring rain,” said Paula. “The last 12 years have been an amazing journey for me, and I hope my story might inspire others to take charge of their health too.”