FORT KENT, Maine — Christopher Daigle, 14, still clearly remembers the afternoon last July when he set out to take part in what he thought would be an ordinary few hours fundraising for the Fort Kent Community High School soccer team.
He had participated in bottle drives before, and his mother, Shondelle, and stepfather, Gary Sibley, were driving him through the Wallagrass area to collect donations when he did more than just do his part to help save the planet.
The high school freshman ended up saving a life.
For that, Daigle will be honored with one of the 2013 Real Hero Awards from the Aroostook County branch of the American Red Cross. The the annual breakfast will be on April 5 at Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle.
Daigle said on Saturday that he and his family were making the rounds at around noon that day in July when he noticed a middle-aged man lying on the floor inside a garage beside a lawn tractor.
“I was just standing there looking for a few minutes, and he just wasn’t moving at all that I could see,” Daigle said. “My stepfather looked a little closer and he didn’t think he was either, so we all went over there.”
Daigle’s mother, Shondelle Sibley, said that her husband and son noticed that the man, who was 42, was unconscious and had apparently been there for some time. His arm was pinned beneath him and felt cold to the touch.
“My mother called the ambulance,” the teenager explained. “We didn’t know what was wrong at first. We thought, just because of how he was laying, that he might have fallen and hit his head or something. The ambulance said they would get there as quickly as they could, but all that were in the area that day were tied up at other emergency calls. Then we found out from his neighbor that he was diabetic and determined he most likely was suffering from diabetic shock.”
And that is when Daigle, armed with knowledge gained through his friendship with a diabetic friend, sprang into action
“I had a friend in school with diabetes, and I knew that when his blood sugar got low, he had to drink things like apple juice,” he said. “My stepfather and I found him some juice and we got him up in a chair and fed him the juice and began asking him questions and he began responding.”
Daigle said that the family stayed with the man, who has been diabetic for more than two decades, until an ambulance got there. By that time, he was behaving normally and did not require transportation to the hospital.
“He told us that he didn’t have any memory of it at all,” Daigle said on Saturday. “He was very grateful to us when we told him what had happened.”
Shondelle Sibley said the man told her that his last memory was lying down, working on his car.
“I am glad that Christopher was that observant, because I don’t think anyone else would have seen him until it was too late,” she said on Saturday.
She added that Christopher’s father, Steven Daigle of Fort Kent, is equally proud of his son.
“He really did save that man’s life,” she said. “He kept a good head on his shoulders, and all of that was from education he has because of a friend he has with diabetes.”
Daigle said that he is very happy that things turned out the way they did, and he said that his friends were “pretty impressed and proud of him” when they heard the story.
As for him?
“I am just really glad he ended up being okay,” he said.