Bayer sponsor diabetic

Pharmeceuticals giant backs Canadian diebetic in Around Alone

Thursday July 25th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom
    John Dennis' Open 50 Ascensia

    Tomorrow Bayer will announce their sponsorship of Canadian Around Alone competitor John Dennis, under the name Ascensia, the pharmeceutical giant's new brand name for its self-management diabetes monitors and services.

    John Dennis, a 57-year old commercial real estate manager from Toronto, will be making history with this race as the first skipper with diabetes to compete in a solo global yacht race. The announcement was made in conjunction with the boat's inclination tests carried out at the Brewer Cove Haven Marina in Barrington, Rhode Island. This involves the boat and skipper being turned completely upside down in the water.

    John Dennis has sailed more than 40 long-distance voyages covering more than 90,000 nautical miles. Adding a solo global race to his achievements has been his lifelong dream, but eight years ago, before he could achieve his goal, Dennis was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. His successful entry into Around Alone this year is the result of his diligence to bring his diabetes under control maintaining stable blood sugar levels, by monitoring his blood sugar several times each day.

    "When I was first diagnosed I thought I'd never be able to fulfill my dream of a solo sail around the world, however, I've learned that by regular monitoring and self-management of my blood sugar, I can be fit for racing," says Dennis. "Having diabetes does mean I have to work harder. Like any skipper I have to monitor the yacht systems and sails on a 24-hour clock, and because of my diabetes I also have to monitor my blood sugar without fail. But I am up to the challenge."

    Dennis recently acquired the Open 50 Great Circle from American based South African Brian Hancock. This design by Peter Ebutt was built in carbon fibre by Concordia Yachts to be raced in the 1994/5 BOC Challenge (the predecessor to Around Alone), but to date has never made the start line of this event.

    Following the rollover the next milestone for Dennis will come on Wednesday, July 31, when he begins his 21-hundred mile, trans-Atlantic qualifying sail from Newport, R.I. to the Azores. He will return approximately 26 days later.

    "Around Alone is the greatest mental and physical challenge in any sport," commented Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Chairman of Clipper Ventures plc, race
    organizer of Around Alone. "This is the first time a skipper with diabetes has been able to compete and we are proud of John for overcoming his personal health issues to take part in this 8 month, 28 thousand mile ultimate classic ocean race - the ultimate sporting challenge. This is a fine example of the personal sacrifice and determination required to sail around the world alone."

    Ascensia is the brand name for Bayer's monitoring products and services for people with diabetes including glucose monitors that allow people with diabetes to test a droplet of blood at different intervals during the day to measure their blood sugar levels. With diabetes it is important to maintain stable sugar levels by adjusting diet, medications and in some cases by taking insulin injections. Ascensia means to 'ascend and achieve,' and its slogan Your Life. Your Way. reflects what people with diabetes can achieve if they are diligent about self-managing their condition.

    "John is an inspiration to us all, and we are pleased to be able to help John achieve his lifelong dream," said Joe Malta, vice president, Self-Test Business, Bayer Diagnostics. "Even in the middle of the ocean, John can use an Ascensia DEX? monitor to measure his blood sugar levels to help adjust his diet accordingly. Watching John work toward his goal is living proof that with proper self-management and diligent self-monitoring of blood sugar, diabetes does not have to impede living life to its fullest potential."

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