Special Guest - Jen Alexander
Jen Alexander was diagnosed 19 years ago when she was 13 years old - back when blood tests took 3-5 minutes. Her first open water swim was a diabetes camp, and after a fish gave her a funny look while she was swimming and she vowed she'd never do it again. Nearly 20 years later, Jen has swum from Alcatraz to San Francisco, around parts of Manhattan, and in lakes and oceans around the Maritimes. Jen never wears a wet suit, and moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia to be closer to the ocean.
In 2006, Jen attempted to become the only Canadian with diabetes (18th Canadian overall) to swim the English Channel. Conditions were rough: the largest waves peaked at 10 feet (3 meters), and Jen unknowingly faced the worst tide anticipated in the next 20-25 years. Despite the challenges, the official Observer documented that Jen was that happiest swimmer he had ever seen. After 6 hours and 37 minutes, the escort boat captain deemed the conditions unsafe and terminated the swim. Jen will try again in 2009.
In 2007, after swimming for 19 hours and 17 minutes, Jen became the first person to swim a double-crossing of Canada's Northumberland Strait. During the best 10 hours of this world-record swim, her blood sugar averaged 112 mg/dl (6.2 mmol/L) without any lows. (Hypothermia pushed her blood sugars higher toward the end of the swim, giving an overall average of 160 mg/dl (8.9 mmol/L).)
Jen believes that diabetes control is essential to athletic performance, and has learned how to test her blood sugar while treading water -- despite the darkness of night, 10 foot (3 meter) waves, blowing sea spray and howling winds.
In 2007, Jen was awarded the Canadian Diabetes Association's Inspiration Award. In 2008, Jen was honored with the Diabetes Exercise and Sports Association's "Athlete of the Year" award.
Friends for Life 2009 Conference and Expo Introduction - Partners & Sponsors - Exhibitors - Convention Center Map Faculty - Youth Faculty - Grandparent Faculty - CWD Staff - Special Guests Registration - FAQs - Kids' Voices Schedule: Parents & Adults - Youth - Young Adults - Focus Groups FFL Reports from 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001
Last Updated: Monday December 07, 2009 13:08:22
This Internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional.
This site is published by T-1 Today, Inc. (d/b/a Children with Diabetes), a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, which is responsible for its contents. Our mission is to provide education and support to families living with type 1 diabetes.
© Children with Diabetes, Inc. 1995-2017. Comments and Feedback.