COEUR d’ALENE — Carson Magee rounded the bend in McEuen Park on Saturday afternoon, his unicycle steady and his smile contagious.
The 11-year-old victoriously raised his arms as he passed applauding fans and young jugglers who tossed colorful items into the air.
He slowed to a stop after riding more than 3 1/2 miles from Riverstone to McEuen to bring awareness to Type 1 diabetes (T1D) and raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation during the commencement of his campaign, “Unicycling for A Cure.”
The cause is near and dear to the youth, who was diagnosed with the disease when he was only 8, and he planned for the event to take place at the beginning of November, which is American diabetes month.
“It was awesome,” Carson said after the ride. He added that his motivation for the campaign is, “not only for me, but the other type 1 diabetics” and “to help find a cure for this deadly disease.”
Carson, of Coeur d’Alene, and fellow type 1 diabetic and U.S. professional cyclist Dave Holden of Team Novo Nordisk left Riverstone around 1 p.m. and cycled along the Centennial Trail to meet several supporting friends, colleagues and loved ones at the McEuen Pavilion, where guests enjoyed refreshments, entertainment and music. Carson kept an eye on his blood sugar during the entire 45-minute trek and only stopped a couple times as he one-wheeled it the whole way.
“He’s a pretty amazing kid, he’s done quite a bit,” Holden said. “He’s been an advocate for T1D down in Washington, D.C., and talked to the senators and really gotten a lot of support, especially across the region and across the nation. He’s a pretty impressive kid.”
Carson’s friend Zoe Hembry, 12, of Hayden, also has T1D. They met because of their shared affliction. Zoe goodheartedly admitted she’s a little jealous of Carson’s many community activities.
“He’s on TV and doing all this stuff fundraising for diabetes and it’s like, I wish I could do that,” she said. “He’s helping out so many people. He’s so generous and just amazing. Just amazing.”
Carson’s big brother, Mason, 16, taught him how to unicycle about four years ago. Mason said it was a pretty big accomplishment for his brother to ride that far.
“When I was riding a unicycle at his age, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to unicycle for that long of a time,” Mason said. “I think it’s great to raise awareness for diabetes. He does a good job at it.”
Their mom, Fondra, said they are optimistic about Carson’s near-future endeavors in raising money and awareness for T1D and juvenile diabetes.
“We’re making a big push,” she said. “The community was amazing. It’s only going to grow in time. For our first one, we were pleased.”
She said since Carson’s diagnosis four years ago, he has raised about $24,000 for diabetes research, $6,000 of it in the last year alone. His goal is to raise $5,000 within two years of Saturday’s unicycling event.
“It’s kind of just who he is,” she said. “He’s got such a giving attitude. He’s always thinking of other people. He just has that kind of a personality, this is a natural progression for him. Naturally I’m proud of him, but it doesn’t surprise me in the least that he wants to help other people and be an advocate. This is all his idea.”
To donate to Carson’s cause, visit www2.jdrf.org/goto/carsonmagee. For information, visit www.carsonscruisers.blogspot.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.