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Patients and Families Make Emotional Plea at Senate Hearing for Diabetes Research Funding

Washington, DC, July 27, 2017 — Summer Park reports on Roll Call that families and advocates delivered an emotional plea for more diabetes research funding before Congress on July 26.

People with type 1 diabetes, including over 160 children, were on hand for a hearing before the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

Those testifying urged lawmakers to extend the Special Diabetes Program, which funds research into type 1 diabetes.  The program will run out of funds this September if lawmakers don’t act.

The families were joined by actor Paul Sparks, who stars on the Netflix hit “House of Cards.”

“We are at the cusp of a whole new generation of therapies, devices, and hopefully a cure,” Sparks, who was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 28, told lawmakers.

The Special Diabetes Program was created in 1997 to promote efforts to cure and prevent diabetes, a disease that affect millions of Americans.

The program provides $150 million a year to advance type 1 research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and treatment and prevention programs with the aim of eventually finding a cure.

The program has historically had broad bipartisan support, and lawmakers expressed optimism it would get the funds needed.

Committee Chairwoman Susan Collins (R-Maine) said, “The amount of progress in the 20 years that I have co-chaired the diabetes caucus really is encouraging.  And we are going to keep working on that.”

The children who attended the hearing were part of the biennial Children’s Congress organized by the JDRF, a charitable group dedicated to promoting type 1 diabetes research.

Collins and Sen. Bob Casey (Pa.), the committee’s top Democrat, praised the letters of support from the group for the program.

For Park’s full Roll Call story, click here.