Daniel Kemp was out on the water with the Sarasota Scullers earlier this year when he fainted in the boat.

"One stroke I was there and the next stroke I was out," said Kemp, 18.

His blood sugar had dropped too low.

He was unconscious for about 30 seconds.

His fellow rowers jumped to action.

"They were flagging the coach down, trying to wake me up," Kemp said. "Some were trying to reach for my tablets, crush one and put it in my mouth so it would dissolve."

Kemp was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 8. His coaches and teammates are aware of the condition, which requires almost constant monitoring by the Pine View senior.

Kemp pricks his finger five to 10 times a day. He counts the carbohydrates he eats. He has an insulin pump.

"I got over the fear of needles real quick," Kemp said, with a laugh.

Kemp has not let his diagnosis keep him from being active. He works hard to promote education and awareness of Type 1 diabetes. It's the topic of one of his school essays. It introduced him to a role model, Chris Jarvis, who is an Olympic rower for Canada and founder of the "I Challenge Diabetes" organization.

"It's probably the biggest thing in my life," Kemp said.

An early diagnosis

His mother noticed something was wrong 10 years ago when the family went on a boating trip.

Kemp was eating more than usual and couldn't seem to quench his thirst for water. Over the next week, he lost quite a bit of weight.

When they went to the hospital, Kemp's blood sugar was above 600. The average blood sugar level is 100 to 140.

Kemp has Type 1 diabetes, a rarer form of the disease for which a cause is unknown. He works to educate others on the different types of diabetes -- Type 2 is the most common -- and misconceptions.

"It's a complete myth that diabetics can't have sugar or that it's even bad for them. All that matters really is carbohydrates," Kemp said. "I can't tell you the number of times people have slapped food out of my hand and say, 'You can't eat that.'"

Kemp said he has never had any serious complications as a result of diabetes. He has sat out at practice, but it's never required him to miss a race.

He monitors his sugar. He is attuned to the symptoms of experiences when his levels get too high or too low. Sometimes he will set an alarm during the night to check his levels.

His teammates know he keeps sugar tablets in his pockets. His coach keeps tubes of sugar gel around during practice and races.

"It's a pretty physically demanding sport," Sarasota Scullers coach Randy Higel said. "They make a big commitment. He deals with all that plus he deals with this."

Higel said his priority is to make sure his rowers are safe and healthy, but Kemp is not bound by his diabetes.

"He's the kind of person that doesn't have to be defined," Higel said. "He is who he is, and he's going to do whatever he's going to do. If you're willing to take control of it, you can manage it. It's the people who don't take control who get in trouble."

Having a relationship with Jarvis -- who has diabetes but also shares a passion for rowing -- has been helpful.

Kemp first learned about Jarvis when he searched rowers with diabetes.

He was struggling to decide what to do with his insulin pump while wearing a unisuit during competitions.

Jarvis reached out to Kemp and told him to clip it behind his neck.

After that, Jarvis expanded his I Challenge Diabetes organization outside of Canada to include Kemp. With members of the group, Kemp has hiked the West Coast Trail in British Columbia. Kemp helped organize a group trip to Florida.

Kemp will head to college in the fall. His top choice is the University of Virginia, which has one of the country's best club rowing teams. He hopes to study environmental science.

His message for other children with juvenile diabetes who are afraid the disease will impede on their dreams is this:

"I definitely wouldn't say it's all going to be easy. It's definitely not," Kemp said. "Perfection is impossible with diabetes.

"There are going to be times when it just sucks to have diabetes, but you can control your path."