There has to be a better way.

My name is Tori Howard. I am a teacher and mother from Seattle, Washington. My oldest son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 14 years ago and our lives have been altered ever since.

Our family is one of many that has struggled with the enormous cost of having a child with diabetes. When he was first diagnosed, his insulin was $60. Now his prescriptions generally cost us about $2,000 per month. This financial burden has made it hard for families like ours to stay afloat. In our case, we almost lost our home and we often go without food because bills are constantly going into collections. It's a juggling routine: what can I wait to pay for in order to get him his medicine? Due to the high price of his medication, my son has had to resort to rationing his insulin, too. Rationing insulin is a dangerous practice, but not a rare one. Not managing his diabetes properly will have devastating, if not fatal ramifications for him later in life. If insulin were more affordable my son would be able to take his medicine properly.

Diabetes doesn’t just take a financial toll –– the effects are also mentally and physically draining. Due to high prices, my son’s overall health has been compromised. Insulin rationing causes him to have difficulties at work and school.  Not being able to keep his blood numbers in a good range because of rationing is causing irreversible damage to his body. He is already having diabetic nerve pain in his legs, heart problems, and damage to his sight. This is damage that could all be avoided. For him to be so young and having these problems now is not just frustrating, but frightening. We want the best for our children, and knowing that he is hurting, and that it will only get worse, breaks my heart and makes me feel helpless. Recently his blood sugar was so high he got written up and sent home from work early for not being able to do his job properly. What happens if my son gets fired or can’t obtain an education –– how will he ever afford his medication then?  

To make sure he is okay, I make many sacrifices. In order to afford what he needs, my own health is often neglected. I need to be healthy to provide for my family. My youngest son is also struggling with a brain tumor and those costs are outstanding. There has to be a better way. We need a solution that actually helps people. Raising a child with a disease such as diabetes is already challenging. Immense costs make it unbearable. Hardworking families should not have to go through the stress of trying to afford the medicine they need to survive. Insulin prices must come down.