Kansas City,
16:21 PM

News-Press NOW: St. Joseph student advocating for diabetes awareness in Washington, D.C.

By Alex Simone

Type 1 diabetes can fly under the radar as the less common form of the condition, so a local teen is making a trip to Congress to advocate for greater awareness and continued research.

Central High School senior Madi Theas leaves July 9 to address politicians on behalf of the Special Diabetes Program. The SDP is a federal effort for research, prevention and treatment of Type 1 diabetes.

Efforts like the SDP are important for increasing awareness and dispelling misconceptions, Theas said.

“It’s a little frustrating talking to other people about my diabetes. And they’ll always say my parents fed me too much sugar or I caused this on myself,” she said. “I always have to explain that my body just attacked my pancreas. I didn’t have any say or choice in it, it’s just a completely random thing.”

Life with Type 1 is difficult because there are limited options, said Dr. Ryan McDonough, a pediatric endocrinologist with Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. Patients can treat Type 2 diabetes with several medications, like semaglutide, but the only medication for Type 1 is insulin.

“People cannot live without that insulin, so it’s remarkably challenging to navigate high co-pays, costs of insulin that are skyrocketing,” McDonough said. “The access to these technologies are also very expensive... to be able to navigate that adds an extra layer of complexity to our patient care.”


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Children's Mercy Endocrinology and Diabetes program