September 29, 2009 13:48 ET

Local "Hero" Travels to U.S. for the Run of a Lifetime

BRAMPTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 29, 2009) - Running a marathon is a heroic effort. Running a marathon, or any long-distance race, after being diagnosed with a serious, chronic illness takes that heroism to the next level.

On October 4th, local athlete Debbie Zelez will join 24 other "Global Heroes" – long-distance runners with chronic illnesses who benefit from medical technology – to compete in the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Minnesota. Debbie was selected from 150 applicants who submitted inspiring personal stories of courage and perseverance after being diagnosed with a chronic illness.

Debbie Zelez, 36, is a mother of twins and former member of Team Diabetes Canada. She has completed over eight half marathons and uses an insulin pump to manage her diabetes, proving that chronic disease doesn't stop her from living an active life. Her continued passion for running will serve as an inspiration to others when she completes the 10-mile run event. The Medtronic Foundation will donate $1,000 in her name to a patient organization associated with her condition.

This year's Global Heroes represent 9 different countries, range in age from 18 to 74 years and all share the same goal: to help people assisted by medical technology understand that it is possible to continue to be physically active, pursue personal goals and lead full, dynamic lives.

For a complete list of the 2009 Medtronic Global Heroes and more about the program, visit

About Global Heroes

Global Heroes is a cooperative effort between the Twin Cities Marathon, Inc. and the Medtronic Foundation that brings inspiring runners from around the world to Minnesota to run in Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon events. Global Heroes are runners who benefit from medical device therapies that treat chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, spinal disorders, chronic pain or neurological disorders. All runners with medical devices are welcome to apply; complete information is available at


"Implantable devices are not for everyone, and all devices described on this site carry risks. These patient stories capture individual successful experiences. Individual results vary. Patients should consult with a physician about any questions or concerns related to health, and also about the risks and benefits associated with medical device therapy."

Contact Information

  • Medtronic
    Melicent Lavers Sailly