Jenna Gregg is making waves, literally. Last winter, Jenna decided to begin swimming the equivalent distance between her hometown of Kingston, Ontario and British Colombia. Her goal? To raise funds and awareness about dolphins and the pollution that is rapidly destroying their habitat.
Update Friday had a chance to speak with Margaret McLauchlan, caregiver and friend of Jenna, who told us that the idea to organize a fundraiser came after their trip to a We Day event. “I took Jenna to one of the Free the Children We Day events, where she saw Spencer West speak about making a difference in the world.” West, a motivational speaker who lost both of his legs at a young age, is one of Jenna’s heroes.
Following the event, Jenna decided that she wanted to make a positive difference in the world. “Her goal was to accomplish two things, educate and fundraise. She knew how hard people work for their money and that she would have to make a huge effort in whatever it was she wanted to do,” said McLauchlan.
“When Jenna was born with Cerebral Palsy, we were told that she wouldn’t be able to walk or talk. We decided that we would do everything in our power for her to reach her full potential. She had very active physiotherapy when she was younger which involved swimming, it made a huge difference,” said Jenna’s mother Karen Gregg, who has been supporting Jenna every step of the way.
Jenna decided to swim 3,534 laps at the Artillery Park Aquatic Centre, the equivalent distance between Kingston and the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. “Jenna chose to fundraise for the rescue centre after looking online and finding out that they were the only dolphin rescue centre in Canada,” said McLauchlan.
Jenna’s passion for dolphins and her determination to accomplish her goal had her swimming between 70 and 80 laps every Tuesday night.
The community has rallied around Jenna’s fundraising efforts, with many locals taking interest in her reaching her goal and others donating to the cause. “Every single Tuesday, we have several regulars who will come out to the pool to support Jenna and ask how close she is to reaching her goal,” said McLauchlan.
The Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre has also recognized Jenna’s efforts. In two weeks, Jenna will be visiting the aquarium where she will receive a special behind the scenes tour of the exhibits. The aquarium has also named a recently rescued harbour seal after Jenna.
This past Tuesday, Jenna completed her goal of 3,534 laps which was followed by a celebration that many of Jenna’s friends and local supporters attended.
Here at Update Friday, it is always refreshing to hear stories about individuals who focus on their abilities rather than their disabilities. Congratulations to Jenna Gregg on a successful fundraiser and the completion of her goal.
– Justin dePass