At first glance, Coeur d’Alene High School senior Carson Magee’s résumé is similar to that of many other outstanding young scholars: honor student, college-bound, National Honor Society, Yearbook editor, Boys State, church worship team.
It gets a lot more interesting.
Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 7, he was in the hospital for a week, and when he was released, as he puts it, “he took the hospital home with him,” with boxes of medicine, syringes, pumps and test strips.
“I was only 7,” he said, “so I didn’t understand the scope of it, only that I probably wasn’t going to be able to do most of the things I wanted to do. I think I felt sorry for myself for a couple years before I decided that I wasn’t going to let it control me. I eventually thought, if I’ve got it, I’m going to make the most of it.
“I think I was 9 or 10 when I heard about a program called Invent Idaho, which is a forum for young inventors in the Northwest. I was starting to become passionate about finding a cure, and my swipe-and-wipe testing kit won the contest.”
So here is where things start getting even more interesting. After winning that competition, Carson appeared on the Nickelodeon Network’s Figure It Out, a game show for children with special skills or unique achievements. And he won the grand prize there.
“I thought way back when I was diagnosed that diabetes was going to stop me, but it turned out the opposite. Diabetes has accelerated my progress in life, given me more opportunities and made me more confident. It put me on a journey I hadn’t expected, but without it I wouldn’t be the same person I am today.
“Some days, it’s hard to keep up with all my responsibilities, and the only thing getting me through a bad day is my faith. That gives me something I can always rely on and helps me get back on track. If I wasn’t passionate about this, I would be letting someone else do the work, but it’s necessary and I’m grateful because of the people I’ve met and have been able to impact.”
His counselor at Coeur d’Alene High School, Kelly Reynolds, is astounded at everything that Carson has accomplished.
She wrote: “To say Carson is a leader would be an understatement. He has been an amazing advocate for Type 1 diabetes. He has worked tirelessly with Idaho U.S. senators and representatives from an early age, and continues to advocate for legislative bills to benefit the Type 1 diabetic community.
“He has created numerous fundraising events in this process to increase awareness. He is a spokesman for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and has testified on Capitol Hill, helping persuade Idaho’s senators and representatives to give $150 million to Type 1 diabetes research.”
Carson is still undecided on his college future, but he knows wherever he goes, he will major in computer science and eventually create applications and software “that help kids like me,” as he put it.
“I want to make software more efficient and easier to use. I know how frustrating it is when technology fails.
“This isn’t all about me – my problems are important, but what’s important is what I can do for others.”
But to conclude, let’s return to that résumé, which also includes three items you may not find elsewhere in these pages: He is a professional clown, he is currently training a service dog, Capo, and he started his own photography studio.
“I’ve been clowning with my family since I was 2. I learned to unicycle, and we have performed at grand openings and even with (country band) Rascal Flatts. It’s unique and fun and always refreshes my mind. Capo is a goldendoodle-Lab mix who is the best diabetes alert tool in the shed for me. He alerts me if my blood sugar is low and can even catch it 30 minutes before it happens.”
Joe Everson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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