Making a Splash in Fund-Raising
Carly Lenett, 8, hits the pool to increase diabetes awareness
Carly Lenett is like a fish in water. The 8-year-old from Macungie, Pa., takes the plunge not just for fun but to raise money for other people like her: She has type 1 diabetes.
Carly was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 3 years old. She and her family wanted to help raise money for the American Diabetes Association, so Carly decided to combine her love of swimming with fund-raising. In the last two years, she has raised nearly $20,000 for the Association by getting pledges for swimming laps. In 2013, she swam 110 laps, or 2,750 yards—more than 1½ miles. “I felt really excited,” Carly says. “It was awesome [to hear people cheering].”
She didn’t do it alone, however. In addition to family and friends cheering for Carly from the deck, Olympic silver medalist Kristy Kowal swam side by side with her all the way. Carly’s dad, Mitch Lenett, checked her continuous glucose monitor while pacing the deck. Adrenaline pushed Carly’s blood glucose to almost 400 mg/dl at the beginning of the swim, but she wore her insulin pump in the pool and did finger-stick checks several times throughout the event. Carly says that as a young athlete, she tries to set a healthy example for others. “I’d say, you can do it and don’t be afraid,” she advises. “I just watch my blood sugar, and I test to make sure it’s OK. [Exercise] is good for your blood sugar, and it’s really fun.”
Mitch Lenett says his daughter inspires him—not just as a father but as a fellow person with type 1 diabetes. “She’s got such a strong will,” he says. “She’s so little and cute and has this little voice, but a heart like a lion.” Carly’s inspiration goes beyond her dad: She reaches others as an American Diabetes Association Youth Ambassador. Rhonda Heier, special events manager for the Association’s northeast Pennsylvania office, says she is proud to know Carly. “The day was flawless and inspirational,” Heier says. “Carly … inspires us with her determination to not let diabetes stop her.”