Allentown News

Published on September 6th, 2017

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Pre-Teen St. Luke’s Extraordinary Athlete is Diabetes Fundraising Powerhouse

Twelve-year-old St. Luke’s Extraordinary Athlete Carly Lenett from Macungie raised $70,000 last year with the help of matching funds from the Helmsley Family Trust to help kids with diabetes. And this year, she’s aiming even higher.

Her sixth annual swim to fight diabetes will take place Sept. 16 at the Emmaus High School swimming pool. The Team Carly Rocks Foundation Swim for the Cure fundraising effort, with St. Luke’s University Health Network as the presenting sponsor, seeks to surpass the $150,000 in total funds raised.

“Carly and St. Luke’s possess a mutual interest in raising the awareness of diabetes and treatment, and the importance of exercise to maintain a good plan with your physicians and exercise specialists to ensure good health,” says John Hauth, Senior Director of Sports Medicine Relationships for SLUHN.

Diabetes holds a special significance for Carly. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (T1D) at the age of 3, following in the footsteps of her dad, Mitch, who also has the disease. Her life has been one of empowerment and advocacy ever since, making her one of St. Luke’s Extraordinary Athletes.

Teams Carly Rocks got its name as a walking team for a diabetes fundraiser from older brother Ben, who said Carly “rocks” her diabetes. Carly, age 6 at the time, asked if she could swim it instead of walking it. Mitch said that’s when the light bulb went on – to start a swim event. And now the Team Carly Rocks Foundation has raised more than $100,000 and counting for the diabetes cause.

U.S. Olympic medal winners Gary Hall, Jr., who also has T1D, and Berks County native Kristy Kowal have swum with Carly during the event at the Emmaus High pool. Carly has also gained friendship and support for her efforts from celebrities with diabetes like rock star Bret Michaels, NBA legend Dominque Wilkins and former Pittsburgh Steeler Kendall Simmons.

Everyone with diabetes needs to monitor their blood sugar closely, particularly when performing any type of endurance activity. “There are a lot of things she has to be very conscientious about more so than other athletes her age as far as carbohydrate intake and preparation going into exercise,” explains John Graham, Senior Director of Fitness & Sports Performance at SLUHN.

Carly knows this firsthand. “It’s hard managing my blood sugars and keeping it under control,” she admits. “I use a CGM [continuous glucose monitor) test my blood sugars about five times a day and adjust my insulation ratios. I use a little needle that pricks my finger and puts blood in a machine, and that tells me what my blood sugar is. If it’s too high, I have to give myself some more insulin than usual. And if it’s low, I have to eat sugar, something like applesauce, to bring it back up.”

Says Emmaus High School swim coach Tim O’Connor: “She embodies everything you want a child to be. She’s good. She’s active. She gives her all whether she’s on the playground, the soccer field or swimming, and she does it all with a big smile.”

St. Luke’s is proud to be the presenting sponsor for the sixth annual Team Carly Rocks Foundation Swim for the Cure. Carly truly exemplifies what it means to be an extraordinary athlete. Carly rocks!


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