Ruby Anderson, age 9, of Yarmouth testified alongside award-winning actor Victor Garber
Click HERE for a high-resolution photo of Senator Collins with Ruby Anderson of Yarmouth and Lydia Bryant of Ellsworth
Click HERE for a high-resolution photo of Senator Collins meeting Ruby in 2013
Click HERE for b-roll of Senator Collins welcoming Ruby and Lydia to Washington this morning.
Click HERE to read Senator Collins’ opening statement.
Washington, D.C.—Diagnosed just before she turned two years old, Ruby Anderson a 9-year-old girl from Yarmouth, does not remember living without Type 1 diabetes. She is determined to keep a positive attitude, however, and has worked to raise awareness at her school and is an advocate for Type 1 diabetes research.
At the invitation of U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Ruby testified at an Aging Committee hearing titled “Redefining Reality: How the Special Diabetes Program is Changing the Lives of Americans with Type 1 Diabetes.” Senator Collins is the Chairman of the Aging Committee and the founder and co-chair of the Senate Diabetes Caucus.
The hearing was held in conjunction with the JDRF Children’s Congress, a biennial event that began in 1999. Approximately 165 Children’s Congress delegates ages 4-17 from all fifty states attended the hearing, including Lydia Bryant of Ellsworth, a 9-year-old who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes last year.
Ruby told Senator Collins’ committee that she plans to become a scientist to research Type 1 diabetes when she grows up.
“And if they haven’t found a cure for diabetes by then, I will,” Ruby declared. “And when we have a cure, I’m going to have a party and invite everyone in the whole entire world. Senator Collins, you will be first on my list.”
“I am so proud of Maine’s two Children’s Congress delegates, Ruby Anderson of Yarmouth and Lydia Bryant of Ellsworth, for sharing their experience with Type 1 diabetes and advocating for the importance of continued research funding,” said Senator Collins. “Since the last convening of the Children’s Congress two years ago, we have made remarkable strides to change lives for Americans with Type 1 diabetes. These advances have only been possible due to our bipartisan commitment to funding diabetes research, which has increased from $319 million when I founded the Senate Diabetes Caucus in 1997 to more than $1 billion last year. We must keep our foot on the accelerator.”
Ruby is one of the approximately 1.25 million Americans—including 200,000 youth—living with Type 1 diabetes. In her testimony, she discussed the impact of diabetes on her life and the hope ongoing research brings to her and to her family. Advancements in technology to treat the disease have made her life easier. For instance, Ruby used to have to check her blood sugar up to 10 times a day. A little over a year ago, she began using a continuous glucose monitor, which allows her to check her blood sugar on her phone and letting her go weeks without needing to prick her finger. She has also used an Omnipod insulin pump since she was about three years old.
“I wish my diabetes would just disappear,” said Ruby. “And Senators, I don’t want my brother or sister to get T1D.”
The hearing focused on the impact of Type 1 diabetes on individuals and their families at all ages, recent advances and promising opportunities in Type 1 diabetes research, and the need to renew the Special Diabetes Program before September 30th in order to accelerate new treatments, more effective management technologies, and ultimately a cure. The hearing also underscored the need to ensure that these treatments are affordable. Last year, Senators Collins and Casey held a hearing specifically on improving insulin access and affordability.
In addition to Ruby, Type 1 diabetes experts and advocates testified at Senator Collins’ hearing, including award-winning actor Victor Garber. Mr. Garber, who is known for roles in “Titanic,” “Alias,” and many other films and TV series, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1962 at the age of 11.
Other witnesses at the hearing included:
- Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P., Director, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (Bethesda, MD).
- Aaron Kowalski, PhD, President and CEO, JDRF (New York, NY).
- Adriana Richard, Children’s Congress Delegate, age 16 (Milton, PA).
Click HERE to read their testimonies.