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MiVT: Maple Rise

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 1:41 PM EST
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CABOT, Vt. (WCAX) - Darren Celley is one of 2 million Americans living with Type 1 diabetes.

“Just [a] totally random, mutation,” he said.

He can’t control his blood sugar without either taking insulin or eating food.

“That made athletics pretty tough, having to run to the sideline to drink a juice box all the time,” said Celley, who grew up in Cabot playing soccer.

A few years after his diagnosis, his family in Cabot started maple sugaring. He began to use Vermont’s liquid gold to help stabilize his own blood sugar and worked toward his business degree from NVU Johnson.

“I kind of started to put together this idea of using maple to help people who suffer from low blood sugar episodes boost that blood sugar,” he said.

It’s called Maple Rise.

Celley buys maple syrup from his family farm and uses it to make delicious maple cream available in jars or their signature product, packets.

“That’s a good size for kind of following this rule of 15, which is a rule within the Type 1 diabetes community where if your blood sugar is low, you take 15 carbs, wait 15 minutes, and then check it again and repeat,” he explained.

Celley say the pre-portioned packets help people plan for a potential episode, and are more durable than other options to help low blood sugar.

“It won’t freeze like a juice box will; it won’t disintegrate like glucose tabs will,” he said.

Right now, Celley is using hand-operated equipment to make and package his products, but his goal is to expand nationwide. Now, he’s working toward finding a space to make it and educating people about the maple tree. So he’s launched a crowdfunding campaign -- Adopt a Tree, Save a Life.

For 100 bucks you can adopt a tree. The goal is $10,000.

“They have the opportunity to name a tree. And then what we do is we’ll make a wooden tree tag and then we’ll go and tie it on one of the trees and then kind of establish a connection between the people and the trees that they get their syrup from,” he said.

In the meantime, you can find these portioned packets online. And what’s more, you don’t need to be diabetic to enjoy them.

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