By Harold McNeil
News Staff Reporter
In just two months as a member of Cub Pack No. 139 of the Boy Scouts of America, 6-year-old DeMaris Scarver has learned to become a better listener and sharpened his ability to take instructions – all of which helped him save his mother’s life.
Honing those skills would benefit anyone, but they are vitally important for the King Center Charter School second-grader because his mother, Dinesha Scarver, suffers from Type I – or insulin-dependent – diabetes.
DeMaris was only 3 when he was first taught to be alert to his mother exhibiting extreme symptoms of disease. He’s particularly attentive when she becomes incoherent and perspires profusely, signs that there are problems with her blood-sugar level.
“I know when she’s low, but sometimes she says, ‘No, I’m just sweating because it’s hot in here,’ ” DeMaris said while hanging out with his mom and other members of Cub Pack No. 139 at St. Augusta Boys School at Hastings and Bailey avenues.
One recent night, DeMaris recognized the signs after hearing a thud coming from his mother’s bedroom. Rushing to her aid, DeMaris found his mother unresponsive and drenched in perspiration.
“I called my grandma first and my grandma said talk to her, and she wouldn’t respond,” the boy recalled.
Dinesha’s mother, Diane Scarver, instructed her grandson to get his mom a glass of orange juice to help raise her low blood-sugar. She then hung up and raced to her daughter’s house.
But when Dinesha remained unresponsive, DeMaris didn’t wait for his grandmother. He took it upon himself to dial 911 in hopes of summoning assistance quickly.
Within minutes, paramedics arrived and administered life-saving glucose to his mom, who is now on a waiting list for a new kidney after 22 years suffering from diabetes.
Dinesha Scarver said she was oblivious to her son’s heroic actions at the time.
“I really don’t have a lot of recollection. I don’t remember when I go low like that,” she said. “I start to get confused and I start to sweat, and it’s a funny feeling that you get. But this happened while I was asleep, so I didn’t have any symptoms. But he recognizes the symptoms. If I sweat a lot, he recognizes that I must be low and he also heard thumping. He said either I fell off the bed or he just heard a thump and he got out the bed and felt my neck and then called my mom,” Dinesha Scarver added.
Recently, DeMaris was honored for his quick thinking and focus by his Cub Scout troop. Mayor Byron W. Brown, who attended the troop’s Court of Honors Blue & Gold Dinner celebration at St. Margaret’s School Hall on Hertel Avenue, presented the young scout with the troop’s 2013 Lifesaving Award.
“Everybody always sees all the bad in our kids, and when it’s stuff like this, they really need to be recognized,” said Leona Harper, committee chairwoman of Cub Scout Troop No. 139, based at St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church, 555 Northampton St.
Masten Council Member Demone Smith, who is an assistant Scoutmaster with the troop, said scouting is teaching DeMaris a sense of duty.
“As a result of him listening to his Scoutmasters, it’s not a surprise that he would be able to follow directions,” Smith said.
DeMaris’ grandmother agrees.
“DeMaris told me that before he became a Boy Scout, he always felt as though he had to take care of his mother, but now he feels like he’s living out the Boy Scout pledge.”
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