JDRF Middle Tennessee Advocacy Team Chair, Sally Allen, recently attended the 2019 JDRF Government Day. We’re so grateful to Sally and the others like her who advocate for our shared vision of a world without type 1 diabetes (T1D). Hear from Sally about her experience:
“Each March a group of 150+ Advocates storm Washington D.C. to fight for a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. This group, known as JDRF Advocates, are a collective voice for research funding, continued coverage, lower prescription prices and more. For the last five years, I have been honored to represent Middle Tennessee as the Advocacy Team Chair. During my time on the hill, I along with the ATCs for West and East TN met with each Congressional office and both state Senators. This is a total of 11 meetings in 2 days. While this is often a daunting task, it is one we are honored to do.
This year we sat down with new and seasoned staff members and legislators to discuss the importance of the Special Diabetes Program (SDP), lowering insulin prices, and continued insurance coverage. The SDP supports $150 million annually for diabetes research. Without these funds many of our clinical trials would come to a complete stop. JDRF takes that money a step further and raises over $116 million annually. This year we are asking Congress for a five-year renewal of the SDP. I’m proud to say that Senator Lamar Alexander is the co-author of Senate Bill SB192, which includes the renewal of the SDP. Team TN was able to sit and talk with Senator Alexander and his healthcare staff about our hopes for a cure for T1D. I encourage you to contact Senator Alexander’s office and thank him and reach out to Senator Blackburn’s office and request she support SB192 as well. In every office, we discussed the rising cost of insulin and how so many are rationing or going without. This is a huge problem in our country and our lawmakers are concerned about it. We also discussed continued insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, no yearly or lifetime caps, and the ability to continue to stay on your parent’s plan until the age of 26.
We have a lot to be excited about in the field of diabetes research. The closed loop insulin pump system is advancing to other companies and in its capabilities. The research on stem cells, beta cells, encapsulation and so much more is exciting and cutting edge research. Vanderbilt is leading the way on a few top diabetes research projects. We have a lot to be proud of in TN. I do encourage you to reach out to your Congressman and Senators and tell them you want their support for the SDP renewal. Your voice does matter.”