Discussing diabetes

Young advocate meets with Sen. Crapo to talk funding, legislation

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Carson Magee, 13, far right, discusses the importance of the Medicare Continuous Glucose Monitor Access Act and Special Diabetes Program with Sen. Mike Crapo and other type 1 diabetes patients in the senator’s Coeur d’Alene office on Nov. 2.

COEUR d'ALENE — Type 1 diabetes will never keep 13-year-old Carson Magee down.

It actually gives him motivation.

"He has such a positive attitude, I think, because he has a purpose with his diabetes," said Carson's mom, Fondra. "He believes there is a reason he has it, and that is to advocate and to help find a cure, not just for himself but for everyone and all of his friends who have it."

The adamant adolescent advocate met with Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, a member of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, in the senator's Coeur d'Alene office last week to thank him for his past support in the crusade against diabetes and to request further support regarding the Medicare Continuous Glucose Monitor Access Act and the Special Diabetes Program.

The CGM Access Act would change current legislation to provide Medicare coverage of life-saving CGMs to those who qualify.

"That's a really big part of type 1 diabetes management because it reads your blood sugar every five minutes," said Carson, who was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 7. "It's also for older people. They need some extra help sometimes knowing if they're high or low, if they can't feel it. Younger kids, too, like 2-3-year-olds."

The SDP annually provides $150 million for research at the National Institutes of Health. Its research is leading to new insights and methods that are improving the lives of diabetes patients and working toward prevention and cure.

"The SDP bill is really important," Carson said. "We really need to have as many people sign on as we can, the representatives and the senators, to make sure this bill passes."

About 20 people attended the meeting, including other youngsters who have T1D. Fondra said it was a successful meeting because Crapo was able to hear about everyone's experiences first-hand.

"That made a huge difference," she said. "He said the most important thing he does is listen to stories from the people themselves of how certain bills will impact their lives. He said it made a huge impact on him for all these families to come out and tell their stories."

Carson is determined to keep the SDP funding in place.

"He was so excited to be able to go talk to Sen. Crapo. He said, 'Mom, this is so important, we can't afford not to have it for a cure,'" she said. "He led the entire meeting. I'm very proud of him. He's taking this disease that he has, that is a horrible disease and a hard disease that affects every part of his life, and is able to turn it around into something productive."

The Canfield Middle School eighth-grader has been busy calling his local legislators to keep T1D research at the forefront this election season. He said even though he has T1D, anyone can speak out and bring attention to this disease.

"I believe one voice really can make a difference," Carson said. "You don't have to have a disease to advocate or really get the word out and spread awareness."

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