Got it figured out

Coeur d'Alene's Carson Magee featured on Nickelodeon game show

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Courtesy photo Coeur d'Alene boy Carson Magee, 9, on the set of Nickelodean show "Figure It Out." Magee was selected to participate on the show because of an invention he created that is related to his Type 1 diabetes.

To say that her son has benefited from living with an incurable disease isn't quite how Fondra Magee would put it.

More accurate would be that type 1 diabetes has brought out courage and creativity in Carson, that it has placed him in the roles of spokesperson, do-gooder and even inventor.

And occasionally, all of that has some perks.

Like being featured on a national kids' TV show.

Nine-year-old Carson of Coeur d'Alene, highlighted earlier this year for his invention of a gadget to help diabetics measure blood sugar, was recently picked to participate in the Nickelodeon game show, "Figure It Out."

Kind of a big deal for a third-grader.

"It was pretty surreal, to be honest," said Fondra of when the family first heard the boy was wanted for the show. "I was like, Nickelodeon? Seriously? We're in Idaho."

A spokesperson with Invent Idaho, which has awarded Carson's invention, initially called the family about a producer seeking to feature him on the reboot of an early '90s game show.

On the show, Nickelodeon stars guess what a kid's special talent is, with people intermittently getting slimed. If the stars can't pinpoint the truth, the kid wins a prize.

Carson's talent would be, naturally, inventing.

But first he had to send in an audition tape, Fondra said.

He did, demonstrating some of his clown tricks, which he and his family perform to raise money for diabetes research. He also described his invention to the camera.

"We didn't hear and didn't hear and didn't hear, and we thought, 'Oh man,'" Fondra said of after they submitted the tape.

At last an email popped up in late April, she said. Could they fly to L.A. the next morning?

They could, even though it required checking in with Carson's school and doctor, acquiring a special work permit and bringing all the food and medication for Carson's allergies and food.

"It takes a little bit for us to travel," Fondra said.

But it was worth it.

Nickelodeon pulled out all the stops for the family, she said, with free airfare for two of the four family members, a free hotel room in Hollywood and a limo to greet them at the airport.

At the studio, Carson was provided a trailer, and was put into hair and makeup.

"He loved every second," Fondra said, adding that a live audience watched the taping. "It will be a memory that will be with him forever. We talk about it a lot, just being on the set and what it was like."

Carson admitted that stepping onto the neon-fraught set was a little overwhelming.

"I was kind of nervous at first," he said. "Then once I got up there, it just felt like it was normal."

He thinks people will learn something, watching him on TV, he said.

"I think they'll learn that you can do anything with diabetes," he said.

Fondra said the family isn't allowed to disclose if Carson won anything on the show, though she noted that he didn't get slimed.

"He was disappointed about that," she said.

She lauded that her son had a chance to describe his invention and talk about diabetes.

"It's not often you get that kind of a spotlight," she said. "We're hoping a lot of people watch and there's a lot more understanding of type 1 diabetes."

Carson has also been asked to be the 2012 Walk to Cure Diabetes youth ambassador, she added, by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The walk is scheduled for Sept. 23 at Riverfront Park in Spokane.

The "Figure It Out" episode featuring Carson is scheduled to air at 7 p.m. on Aug. 1 on Nickelodeon.

The Coeur d'Alene Public Library will open up its community room that night for a pubic viewing, confirmed spokesman David Townsend.

The doors will open at 6 p.m., he said.

Fondra said she was thrilled to make the trip to California with Carson, his brother, Mason, and their father, Tom.

"If you have a disease like this, it really stinks. I think God allowed us to see a silver lining," Fondra said. "We're thankful that (Carson) has been able to do what he has."

Courtesy photo Coeur d'Alene boy Carson Magee, 9, on the set of Nickelodean show "Figure It Out," with host Jeff Sutphen. Magee was selected to participate in the show because of a device he invented related to his Type 1 diabetes.

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