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10-Year-Old with Type 1 Diabetes Shares Story at Hearing

WASHINGTON D.C. (July 11, 2023) — At the invitation of U.S. Senator Collins, Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and co-chair of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, Maria Muayad of Yarmouth testified before the Appropriations Committee during a hearing held in conjunction with the JDRF Children’s Congress, a biennial event to raise awareness about Type 1 diabetes (T1D).

Maria, a 2023 Children’s Congress Delegate, was diagnosed with T1D three years ago.  As an advocate for T1D at her school, Maria enjoys making posters and short videos to spread awareness among her peers.

Senator Collins during her opening statement: Your personal stories really matter.  They motivate Senators and Representatives to get involved in the cause.  And I want to tell you my personal story of how I got involved.  One of the very first meetings I had as a brand new Senator in 1997 was with families who had children with Type 1.  I’ll never forget this 10-year old boy looking up at me and saying, ‘Senator Collins, I wish I could just take one day off from having diabetes – Christmas or my birthday.’  And that’s why I started the bipartisan Senate Diabetes Caucus that very year.…It is so inspiring to look out and see that wave of blue in town today.  Your passion and advocacy, your hope for a cure, are contagious.  Together, I am confident that we will continue our progress and achieve that goal. 

Maria during her opening statement: My family and I are first generation Americans and proud Mainers.  We know that with hard work, we can do anything.  Every Delegate knows this too.  And that’s why we’re here.  My dream and my family’s big hope is to cure Type 1 diabetes.  Together, with your help, we can do it.

During Q&A, Senator Collins asked Maria: Maria, first of all, thank you for that inspiring testimony.  I know that you and your family moved to Maine from Iraq and that you were diagnosed in Maine with Type 1 diabetes.  I want to ask you whether you think that having Type 1 led to your decision to become a pediatrician when you grow up.

Maria: Yes, it did lead to me wanting to become a pediatrician.  Because I know that only kids and adults with Type 1 will understand the pain and struggle that they go through.  I would like to help kids better understand that.

Approximately 165 Children’s Congress delegates from all 50 states and five countries attended the hearing.

The focus of the 12th Children’s Congress centered on the urgent need to reauthorize the Special Diabetes Program (SDP), which is set to expire on September 30th.  In June, Senators Collins and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced legislation to reauthorize this critical program, which currently provides $150 million each year for dedicated T1D research, as well as the Special Diabetes Program for Indians.  This bill was advanced by the Senate Health Committee in June.  In April, they introduced the INSULIN Act, which would comprehensively address the skyrocketing costs of insulin, removing barriers to care and making it more accessible for millions more Americans.

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