Celebrating The Learner


Alumnus Alanna Tynan Is An Inspiration To Us All

Letter from Alanna’s sister Jennifer Tynan 


Alanna Tynan is an alumni of Selkirk College, an Irving K. Barber Scholarship winner, an inspiration and a survivor, among many other accomplishments.

Her story is one of tragedy turned into hope and action. I hope that Selkirk College will support her & this project by helping to spread the word to those who can help.

My name is Jennifer Tynan. My sister Alanna and I have both been involved in charity work for the last 6 years, working throughout Latin America on various projects. We eventually returned home and The Latitude Project was born. A non-profit organization working to alleviate the stresses of poverty in Latin America. We shaped The Latitude Project based on our past experiences, taking all of the best parts of development work and leaving behind things we had seen and not agreed with. Alanna and I were beyond excited to begin what will hopefully become a lifelong project.

Unfortunately, 2011 proved to be a difficult year for us. In late May, I received a phone call telling me that Alanna had been in a life-threatening car accident. I can tell you this, my heart stopped. The next couple weeks were a blur of tears, critical care units, surgeries, and a complete lack of sleep. Miraculously, Alanna survived the near two hour wait in her car while the jaws-of-life worked to get her out. She survived nearly 8 hours of emergency surgery after being air lifted to the hospital. Her list of injuries included (but was certainly not limited to) two broken femurs, a broken knee cap, a punctured lung, bruised heart, damaged organs, and a laceration on her head so large it took most of her forehead off.

With a set of injuries that extensive, you would expect her to be a victim. To lay in bed in pain. To let the injuries dictate her limitations. Alanna has proven quite the opposite. Throughout the summer, she healed faster than anyone thought possible. Rather than let her accident turn her into a victim, Alanna has conquered her daily challenges as a survivor. She has an incredible desire to help those in desperate situations have access to the means that will allow them to also continue as survivors. The accident left Alanna with more courage, strength, and determination to create positive change than most people we will meet in a lifetime. She has a gratitude for her life and recognizes how precious our lives are. Alanna is pushing herself every day so she can heal and return to Latin America and do what we love - help people.

We are planning to travel to rural Nicaragua in early 2012 to begin our next project in rural communities; building and repairing dilapidated roofs. Unfortunately, the last 9 months have also been financially strenuous. After Alanna’s accident I took a leave of absence from work, traveling home with her to help her adjust to a temporary life in a wheelchair. The time away from work for myself, coupled with her inability to work, has left us feeling the pressure of the costs of flights.

The Latitude Project is determined to use our supporters’ donations in a transparent way. Donations to the Project go directly into our initiatives in Latin America, not to helping us get there. However, this year, we are looking for donations of Aeroplan points to help alleviate some of the financial stress. With 80,000 points donated, Alanna and I can fly round trip to Nicaragua to begin our work. If you are interested in donating please feel free to contact me or download the form to donate.

Thank you very much for your time.


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