When I started Hugging the Cactus, I knew I wanted to do more with it than just use it as a platform to share my diabetes story.
I also wanted to make change.
I wanted to do more for my diabetes community.
I wanted to become the best advocate that I could possibly be.
But for a long time, I was stuck on how exactly to go about doing that.
During this time in quarantine, I’ve been able to spend more time thinking and researching ways that I could get more involved.
And that’s what lead me to T1International.
As I mentioned in a blog post earlier this month, I’ve sort of known about T1International for a long time now. I knew that they were the organization behind the well-known hashtag #insulin4all, but I was curious to learn more about them and their mission.
As I discovered, T1International works to support local communities by giving them the tools they need to stand up for their rights so that access to insulin and diabetes supplies becomes a reality for all. They have a plethora of materials and information on their website that helps those who are interested become well-versed in this issues surrounding insulin and diabetes supply accessibility. In addition, the T1International team keeps site visitors up-to-date with their blog that contains articles on everything from global stories to legislation explanations.
It wasn’t long before I realized I wanted to work with T1International. So I reached out to their team and applied to become a digital advocate, and less than one week later, I completed my orientation. It’s official: I’m a proud T1International digital advocate.
This is meaningful to me because now I feel more empowered to advocate about the issues that matter, such as the #insulin4all movement. This movement is so important because access to insulin, no matter who you are, where you’re from, or what type of diabetes you have, is critical to the health of all individuals who rely on insulin to live.
Before I dive more into the insulin crisis, let me first acknowledge that I am extraordinarily lucky and privileged: Insulin affordability has never been a personal issue for me. Sure, I’ve had to pay way more out of pocket than I’d like to in order to cover the cost of insulin, but I’ve never had to make the impossible choice between paying for a month’s supply of insulin OR paying for monthly rent.
Many people have had to make that sort of choice, though. And that’s simply not okay.
Whether you’re familiar or unfamiliar with the current insulin crisis, consider the following facts (provided by T1International):
- Since the 1990s, the cost of insulin has increased over 1,200%, yet the cost of production for a vial of analog insulin is between $3.69 and $6.16.
- Spending by patients with type 1 diabetes on insulin nearly doubled from 2012 to 2016, increasing from $2900 to $5700.
- A study of rising drug prices over the decade ending in 2018 found that list prices of insulins increased by 262%, with net prices increasing by 51%.
- One of every four patients with type 1 diabetes has had to ration their insulin due to cost. Many have died.
These statistics are more than alarming. They’re downright disgraceful, unjust, and have forced patients to resort to drastic measures to stay alive.
Change needs to happen.
This is why I’m humbled, fired up, outraged, and beyond ready to join the T1International digital advocates team and become one more voice who helps to make the issues regarding insulin access and affordability heard.