Lakes Region boys help raise diabetes awareness at Congress

Senator Susan Collins with Charlie Albair of Gray, left, and Brady Chappell of Naples as part of the JDRF Children's Congress in Washington. 


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two boys from the Lakes Region were in the nation’s capital Wednesday to share their experiences living with type 1 diabetes.

Charlie Albair, 10, of Gray, and Brady Chappell, 9, of Naples, represented Maine in this year’s JDRF Children’s Congress – an event that takes place in Washington every two years to meet with lawmakers and raise awareness about the disease that both boys manage every day.

Albair is the son of Dana and Stephanie Abair, and Chappell is the son of Tait and Jeanette Chappell.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, recognized the two young men Wednesday in a hearing held by the Senate Aging Committee as part of the Children’s Congress.

Albair was also invited to provide testimony at the hearing.

“I want my disease to go away – for me and all the other kids who suffer from it. I want us all to be able to live without thinking about it. That’s why I am here,” said Albair in his remarks before the committee.

Collins is the chairwoman of the Aging Committee, and has now served as a chair of the Children’s Congress for nine out of its 10 years in existence, according to a press release from her office.

“I want to give a special welcome to the two delegates from Maine, Charlie Albair of Gray and Brady Chappell of Naples. I am proud that you are here representing our great State of Maine,” Collins said during the hearing. “I appreciate that you have shared your personal stories and told us what it’s like to live with diabetes, just how serious it is, and why it is so important that Congress fund the research necessary to discover better treatments and, ultimately, a cure.”

“We’re fortunate enough to have Senator Collins on our side,” said Stephanie Albair in a phone interview on Wednesday.

In his bio on the Children’s Congress website, Chappell said that “diabetes doesn’t stop me from doing anything. I just always have to think about diabetes.”

“I was sad when my doctor told me that unless we found a cure, I would have diabetes for the rest of my life,” Chappell continues. “That made me want to find a cure.”

The hearing focused on “progress toward a Cure for type I diabetes,” and Albair was one of five witnesses.

While Albair and Chappell share the same disease, they also seem to share a similar aspiration: professional baseball player. Chappell’s bio says that he would like to be a baseball player or an engineer, and Albair alluded before the committee that he would one day play at Fenway Park.

“I am just like a lot of other kids,” Albair said. “I love sports, especially basketball and baseball. And when I grow up, I hope to play in the major leagues – for the Boston Red Sox.”

Albair said that when he was diagnosed at age 6, he thought that diabetes would get in the way of his dreams, but “now I can realize I can do whatever I want.”

He encouraged members of the committee to keep supporting kids like him.

“And if you do, I’ll invite you to a game when I’m on the Red Sox,” he said to a round applause.

Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.

Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.

Senator Susan Collins with Charlie Albair of Gray, left, and Brady Chappell of Naples as part of the JDRF Children’s Congress in Washington.

  • Christine

    Raise a lot. I was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes and put on Metformin on June 26th, 2016. I started the ADA diet and followed it 100% for a few weeks and could not get my blood sugar to go below 140. Finally i began to panic and called my doctor, he told me to get used to it. He said I would be on metformin my whole life and eventually insulin. At that point i knew something wasn’t right and began to do a lot of research. Then I found Lisa’s diabetes story (google ” HOW EVER I FREED MYSELF FROM THE DIABETES ” ) I read that article from end to end because everything the writer was saying made absolute sense. I started the diet that day and the next morning my blood sugar was down to 100 and now i have a fasting blood sugar between Mid 70’s and the 80’s. My doctor took me off the metformin after just three week of being on this lifestyle change. I have lost over 30 pounds and 6+ inches around my waist in a month. The truth is we can get off the drugs and help myself by trying natural methods