He Refused to Despair: The Travis Kellegrew Story

He Refused to Despair: The Travis Kellegrew Story: Travis Kellegrew was a natural born cheerleader. He has inspired a crowd of fans to stand to their feet and encourage the home team. He’s been in uniform pushing his teammates to do better. He’s even resorted to dancing from time to time to bring everyone back to the focus of the game. When he’s not cheering his team on to victory he’s contributing in the game.

Kellegrew is quoted in Boston.com as saying, “We had goals sheets we had to fill out at the beginning of the season and every one of mine had something to do with fun. For the other two [sports] seasons, I’m the one in the stands leading the cheers. I’m definitely not quiet at games, whether I’m playing in them or not.”

At the age of 18, Travis Kellegrew was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. His mother, Barbara Kellegrew, works in the medical profession and certain elements of his life caused her some concern, “I had suspicions because he had the classic symptoms, so I already knew before the tests came back that that’s what it was. He’d lost weight, was thirsty all the time and had blurred vision. He had no idea what it was; he literally thought he was dying. I told my husband about my suspicions but waited to tell Travis once it was confirmed.”

Travis lost around 30 pounds in 3 months and just wasn’t feeling, “Right.” A call from his mom set lifelong changes in motion. Kellegrew told Boston.com, “I came home at 4, Mom had to work at 5 so she said, ‘Let’s take some blood,’ before she left. An hour later, she called and I could hear her screaming because she was so upset. I had no idea what it was, then Dad told me and next thing, we were on our way.”


In the end many are asking, “Why Travis?” Why someone honored for having “Most Team Spirit.” Why this young man who participated in an undefeated Chelmsford team? Why him? Why now?

Travis is active in three separate sports and was recently honored as Merrimack Valley Conference Athlete of the Year and is team captain for his Chelmsford High team. However, instead of throwing a personal pity party Travis is learning everything he can about his disease and working to manage the disease so he can continue to show team spirit and wear his school colors with pride. Travis spent time with, “endocrinologists, nutritionists, and dietitians to find the proper plan to keep healthy.”

Boston.com indicates, “Kellegrew has found the right balance between his diabetes and his active lifestyle. He takes three shots of insulin each day, injecting himself either in the thigh or the abdomen. He checks his blood-sugar levels four to five times a day and closely monitors his carbohydrate intake.”

Next year Travis plans to attend the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, but this year he’s received the adulation of coach Matt Dibble, “Everyone on the team is more educated and makes sure he has plenty of fluids during games. He’s on a strict regimen, but that’s what he wanted to do. He’s very dedicated in everything he does, including managing his diabetes. He’s just great to have around. He keeps things light.”

Kellegrew’s team spirit is evident when he talks about his future plans. At least for now they include an eventual return to Chelmsford as a math instructor. Sounds like a plan that does not allow Type 1 diabetes to control the future success of this team-spirited young man.