Indiana lawmaker using personal motivation to spearhead diabetes study

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – From awareness, to education, Indiana lawmakers will soon study diabetes. A personal fight for the Indiana lawmaker spearheading the committee.

For millions of Americans, a quick prick, and sugar reading, is a daily routine. But it’s something State Representative Vanessa Summers would like to see go away.

“It’s just an unnecessary disease that has grown rapid and is at epidemic portions in our country, and especially in Indiana,” State Rep. Summers said.

A disease the American Diabetes Association said impacts nearly 30 million Americans by attacking cells and how bodies produce insulin.

To fix this problem, Representative Summers is behind a state study. “It’s time to put a face and a name, and action to a condition that is treatable,” State Rep. Summers said.

The Indiana Department of Health said more than half a million Hoosiers suffer from diabetes. Nearly 300,000 may not know they have it, and it’s the seventh leading cause of death across the state.

A problem representative summers knows well, because she’s had the disease for a decade. “I started out with an A1C of 13. Your A1C should be under 6,” State Rep. Summers said.

A disease that has hit her family hard. “I’ve had one cousin to die,” State Rep. Summers said. “He had a foot amputated, and then he died from complications of diabetes.”

To save her life, she’s made major changes, including her diet, and teaching others as well. “They just have got to eat right,” State Rep. Summers said. “They’ve got to rainbow their colors. You need red, green, purple, yellow.”

She’s gone from four shots a day, to one. A success story she hopes will inspire her fellow lawmakers, and other Hoosiers as they tackle this issue because she knows how tempting it can be to veer off course.

“Sometimes I take a bite because I’m human,” State Rep. Summers said. “I want to taste that cake.”

The study committee was announced about a week ago, but it may take some time before the group may not meet until later this summer. Lawmakers use these off-season meetings to learn information that can help them draft bills for when the 2018 session starts.

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