NEW AD: Sen. Collins - A Champion for Diabetes Research

14 years after Caroline and Aidan Sweeney first met Senator Collins at that hearing in Washington, D.C., Aidan is now a healthy, thriving 18-year-old high school senior who has been accepted into Tufts University where he intends to study biology/pre-med with plans to go on to medical school.  

“I would not be doing as well as I am without Susan Collins,” Aidan says.  His mother adds, “Susan Collins is our hero.  She’s our champion, and I’m so proud to call her our Senator.”

Bangor, ME – In 2006, Caroline Sweeney of Gray, Maine traveled to Washington, D.C. to testify at a Senate hearing. Two years earlier, doctors had diagnosed her 22-month old son, Aidan, with type 1 diabetes. 

“I held my crying son tightly and gasped for breath as I fell against the examining table. My son, the child I had longed for my entire life, was sick – sick with a disease for which there is yet no cure,” Caroline told lawmakers, including Maine Senator Susan Collins.

Aidan, then 4 years old, sat at the witness table looking up at his mother, as Caroline emotionally described how her son received insulin through a pump which he wore around his waist 24 hours a day, and how his small fingers were scarred from being tested up to 12 times a day. 

“I am always fearful – fearful that my son’s blood sugar will rise so high that he will enter into a coma or drop so low that he will seize or even worse.  Every night, I check his blood sugar before I go to bed and pray to God that he will wake up in the morning,” Caroline testified.

During that hearing, 14 years ago, Senator Collins told Caroline; “…your testimony inspires all of us to work even harder for a cure and for the research dollars that will lead to better treatments…”

Senator Collins has kept that promise to Caroline and Aidan and, in a new ad, the Sweeneys explain how Senator Collins has lived up to her commitment to them and to every person living with diabetes and their families.

Since Senator Collins founded the Senate Diabetes Caucus, diabetes research has tripled from $319 million in 1997 to $1.1 billion today.  This research has led to pioneering breakthroughs including the first FDA-approved artificial pancreas system that will automatically control blood glucose levels.

Senator Collins is leading efforts to reduce the cost of insulin.  In May 2018, as Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, Collins led a hearing to investigate insulin affordability, and she has introduced a bipartisan bill, the Insulin Price Reduction Act, that would help reverse more than a decade of insulin price hikes and cut the price of insulin by 75%.  The American Diabetes Association praised Senator Collins' efforts saying “rolling back list prices for insulin products by over a decade will make insulin more accessible for many Americans, both insured and uninsured.” Last December, Senator Collins fought to enact a new law that will help prevent insulin manufacturers from gaming the system and blocking lower-priced competitors from coming to market.

Senator Collins has fought to expand coverage of diabetes technology.  Senator Collins sponsored legislation in 1999 to require Medicare to cover insulin pumps for those with type 1 diabetes. Today, insulin infusion pumps and supplies are covered for Medicare patients.

She also authored the bipartisan Medicare CGM Access Act in 2014 to require Medicare coverage of continuous glucose monitors for patients with insulin-dependent diabetes. Advancements in this technology have greatly improved diabetes management for type 1 diabetics, preventing serious and deadly complications for older Mainers.

Two years ago, Senator Collins helped push the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to support the use of smartphone apps that work in tandem with continuous glucose monitors. This change has made it easier for diabetics to share their glucose data, alerts and alarms with caretakers and healthcare providers.

Last year, Senator Collins authored bipartisan legislation, the Expanding Access to Diabetes Self-Management Training Act to expand self-management training sessions for Medicare patients. These sessions help Medicare patients improve general care for their diabetes.

14 years after Caroline and Aidan Sweeney first met Senator Collins at that hearing in Washington, D.C., Aidan is now a healthy, thriving 18-year-old high school senior who has been accepted into Tufts University where he intends to study biology/pre-med with plans to go on to medical school.  

“I would not be doing as well as I am without Susan Collins,” Aidan says.  His mother adds, “Susan Collins is our hero.  She’s our champion, and I’m so proud to call her our Senator.”

###