15-year-old Sioux Falls native pushing lawmakers to fund diabetes research

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- 15-year-old Maddie They from Sioux Falls, South Dakota has been living with Type 1 diabetes for two years and it’s changed this young teens’ active life.

“Tennis, I used to be able to play and not worry about it now I have to make sure I pack snacks, adjust my basal rates, I’m watching my blood sugars while I’m playing," Thie said.

Maddie is sharing her story in Washington D.C. at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Children’s Congress. She’s joining other kids in asking lawmakers for their support in funding the Special Diabetes Program, federal funding set aside for Type 1 Diabetes research. The program funding is set to expire at the end of September.

“Hoping to get that funding, get new technologies on the market, starting new trials and also to educate people that Type 1 diabetes is segregated from Type 2 diabetes also," Thie said.

One member of Congress knows the struggles Maddie faces.

“My first speech on the floor of the house was given on the issue of diabetes," Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY-23) said.

The father of a child with Type 1 diabetes, New York Congressman Tom Reed has made the issue a priority in Congress. Most recently writing letters to the heads of agencies representing pharmaceutical companies over what he says is the rising price of insulin.

“Why is that happening? Once we get a clear answer as to why, then what can we do about?”

But the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America points to reports saying that net prices actually dropped in 2015 for insulins.
And says insurers should share more information about discounts.

They said quote “providing access to discounted prices at the point of sale could dramatically lower patients out of pocket costs."

While Maddie says she hasn’t dealt with rising costs, she knows many kids who have. That’s why she’ll continue fighting for funding to defeat this disease.

Maddie is scheduled to meet wither lawmakers from South Dakota on Wednesday.

Read the original version of this article at www.graydc.com.