Local teen to take fight against type 1 diabetes to Congress

Cameron Shephard

RIDGEVILLE S.C. (WCIV) -- Tackling issues like rising insulin prices and pre-existing medical conditions is no easy task but one 13-year-old from the Lowcountry is making it her mission.

Cameron Shephard was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of seven, but in just a few weeks she heads to Capitol Hill as the spokesperson for South Carolina.

She will share her story in hope of bringing awareness and change for others.

What is a day in the life of a diabetic like?

"She's stuck her finger anywhere from 5-10 times a day to check her blood sugar and she gets anywhere from 5-8 shots of insulin," Lisa Shephard, Cameron’s mom says.

"You have to constantly watch your sugars, because my body doesn't produce insulin," Cameron said.

Unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 can't be prevented and doesn't have a cure.

"There's not a minute off from the disease at all," Lisa said.

More than 1 million Americans are living with type 1 diabetes and 200,000 are children. Cameron wants these statistics to be heard.

"Her big thing is awareness but also asking for funding, because there are so many improvements out there," Lisa said.

She wrote an essay to U.S. Representative James Clyburn applying to be a youth advocacy leader for the JDRF Children's Congress.

"I’ve talked about how diabetes has changed me and how it effects my day to day life, so he knows that it's not just something that doesn't affect you and that we need support and funding," Cameron said.

More than 4,500 kids applied, only 155 were accepted. She will represent South Carolina for the next two years.

"Affordability is definitely one thing that we're going to be talking about. That pre-existing condition is definitely going to be something because diabetes is pre-existing and everything that comes along with it," Lisa said

The cost of insulin has increased 300 percent and while many diabetics can't afford it, they can’t live without it.

"It's a lifeline. I don't see how people can't help people cover it, because you need it to live," Cameron said.

She's taking these issues to Capitol Hill later this month.

"All the senators and governors everybody is in the room and they'll be listening to their statements Eight kids are selected to speak at a hearing and tell what life is like," Lisa said

While speaking for her peers, she also has a message for them.

"I’ve done so many things, and I still have the disease. So, they can do just as many things. You just have to put your mind to it,” Cameron said.

The Shephards will be heading to Washington on July 23rd. They are also preparing for the Ride to Cure Diabetes in September. They will ride 100 miles on bikes to raise awareness for type 1 diabetes.

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