What do a professional cyclist and a unicycling third-grader have in common? In this case: Type 1 diabetes. And they are also both cycling in the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure, which is coming to the Spokane area for the first time Sunday.
Carson Magee is 9 years old and attends Ramsey Magnet School of Science in Coeur d’Alene. He was 7 when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
“I took him to the doctor for something totally different and just mentioned that he’d been drinking a lot lately,” said Carson’s mom, Fondra Magee. “They tested his blood and his blood sugar was 400, so we had to pack our bags and go to the hospital. It was a crash course in diabetes.”
Normal blood sugar levels are around 100 or less.
On Sunday, Carson will be riding his unicycle as a co-ambassador of the American Diabetes Association’s fundraising bike event, Tour de Cure. The other ambassador is Spokane bicycle racer David Holden, 27, who is racing for Team Type 1 and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 24.
Holden said he first struggled with the diagnosis but soon realized that exercise and eating better was the way to go.
“Exercise is the best way to deal with diabetes. When I talk to others with diabetes this is also the first thing they say,” Holden wrote in an email. “I have done sports all my life, from ski racing to mountaineering to rowing, and I have also met most of my friends through sports.”
Watch Pia Hallenberg talk about this story with KHQ’s Dave Cotton
Carson and Holden connected via a diabetes support group and Carson is one of Team Type 1’s – and Holden’s – biggest fans.
“He (Holden) sent me a book and a hat and some other stuff,” said Carson, who said he’s most looking forward to meeting Team Type 1 on Sunday.
Carson said he’s pretty much used to having diabetes by now, and that most of his friends know about it and look out for him.
“I have to give myself shots,” Carson said. “It only hurts sometimes.”
Magee said Carson also has food allergies, including a life-threatening allergy to peanuts. Kid-friendly foods such as pizza and cupcakes are a big no-no for Carson.
“We bring his food with us when we go out,” said Magee. “He was used to that already, so that wasn’t such a big change for him when he got diabetes.”
Carson said he picked up a unicycle because his older brother Mason, 13, was doing it. Magee is a clown and her sons occasionally help her out at birthday parties and other celebrations.
“He loves riding that thing,” Magee said. “I’m sure he will ride it as many times as they’ll let him around the racetrack.”