Two weeks ago, my son and I, along with local advocates from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, had the opportunity to meet with Sen. Mark Begich via videoconference in Juneau.
Local teen diabetes advocate Krista Thomson arranged the meeting as a part of JDRF's Promise to Remember Me Campaign. We discussed a wide range of issues, including the importance of health care reform and research funding to find a cure.
According to the American Diabetes Association, 67,000 Alaskan children and adults have diabetes, 173,000 have pre-diabetes, and 22,000 don't know they have diabetes. The estimated annual cost of diabetes in our state is $419 million.
My 3-year-old son, Bruno, has Type 1 diabetes, and for those of us who deal with diabetes every day, the hope of a cure keeps us going. A cure will come through research, which is why it is critical to have real champions in Congress who make funding diabetes research a priority.
I would like to thank Begich for his continued support of ongoing research and health care reform. With his help, the scientific and medical communities will have the resources to save the lives of thousands of Alaskans and millions of Americans living with diabetes.