16-year-old catches big idea for diabetic friend

By Dean

Sullivan's Island, SC (WCIV) - It was a friendship born years ago, but the connection between two 16-year-olds came alive on the water. And now one Sullivan's Island teenager wants to pay it forward.

Where one goes, the other is not far behind. Tucker Dodson and Luke Varadi, the Wando High School juniors grew up together, but bonded through fishing.

"It's like we are best friends. We get to talk to each other. Tell each other what's on our minds, like girls or classes," said Tucker.

Luke reeled Tucker in. Taught him the ins and outs of fishing the lowcountry flats.

"We came out one day and we caught a couple of fish. Since then it just clicked and we just keep coming out," said Luke of his early fishing experience with Tucker.

And Tucker's been hooked ever since.

But there is a hidden danger every time Luke hits the water.

"When I was three-years-old, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes," said Luke.

Luke deals with his diabetes like he handles red fish - responsibly.

"In the night now I have to wake up every hour or two just to check my numbers because they're changing in the night," said Luke.

{}"I never knew how much of a hardship it was for him to grow up until now. 16 years he's been dealing with it. It has changed his life," said Tucker.

Fishing for a way to help his friend, Tucker came up with a plan after Luke's family decided to buy him a service dog. A trained dog that detects dangerous blood sugar levels, too high or low. A dog that costs 20 thousand dollars.

"Because he's been teaching me to fish ever since high school has started. It's like me trying to give back to him for all that's he done for me," said Tucker.

The fishing for a dog fundraiser is Saturday. The boys are raffling off local prizes. The big catch. What else? 2 fishing trips with Tucker and Luke serving as guides.

"We have two years to pay off the dog so I'm hoping we can reach the 20 grand mark. It will be really great when we do," said Luke.

Tucker says the fundraiser is a way to pay it forward. Luke's mother calls it a blessing.

"It is such a rewarding experience to see two teenagers have a close relationship and to have a 16-year-old boy help his friend because he taught him how to fish.. everyone should have a friend like Tucker," said Carol Varadi.

If you would like to get involved. Check out the fishing for a dog face book page. The raffle will be held Saturday night on Sullivan's Island..

Luke is expected to receive his service dog in 12 weeks.

For more information email Tucker Dodson at