Southwest Florida 12-year-old advocates for more diabetes research funding

There’s evidence that Americans are dying because they can’t afford their type 1 diabetes medication and one 12-year-old girl from Southwest Florida is working to change that.

Sabine Rivera is living with type 1 diabetes. She’s fighting to convince our elected leaders to pay for more research and hopefully find a cure.

Sabine looks like your average 12-year-old but she’s taking on challenges well beyond her age.

She’s talking about the cost of insulin, saying, “It’s important to us.”

The soaring costs are forcing some Americans to ration their doses which doctors say is a very dangerous, and potentially deadly, idea.

“I don’t want that to happen to me. I don’t want to have to ration my insulin,” Sabine said.

So she advocates for patients like her. Joining more than 100 other kids from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in Washington to ask lawmakers to renew the special diabetes program.

“Even if they don’t have diabetes,” Sabine says, “they might know someone with diabetes.”

Her mom, Pamela, has been coping with the costs for more than two years now and she says they’re hoping for some positive results.

We first introduced you to them last summer when they were paying $450 a month for insulin.

Pam says it still has a huge impact on their life. And even though the prices aren’t coming down yet, awareness surrounding the issue is on the rise.

“I’m pleased that we’re talking about it. I’m pleased that it’s in the news just about every day,” Pam added.

Considering more than $5 million Americans are expected to have type 1 diabetes 30 years from now, cutting those costs and finding a cure is a major mission for this family.

“We are very close to a cure, and we don’t want this legislation not to pass.”

They told me Senator Rick Scott and Rep. Francis Rooney both signed letters of intent to support the money they’re asking for.

If approved, it would provide $200 million a year from 2020 through 2024.

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