SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Noah and Emma Dandurand were both diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at a young age.
Since then, their lives have been far from normal because everyday is a new challenge.
Just going on a walk can be an obstacle.
Their parents, Dan and Laura, have made sure to make their children’s lives as normal as possible.
In January, they received a diabetic dog, Juno to assist Noah and Emma from the Sioux City Cosmopolitan Club.
Juno even attends school with Noah.
Since the diagnoses, Dan and Laura have created a Facebook page, Noah and Emma and their Lazy Pancreas where they document their journey.
They also want to educate the public on Type 1 Diabetes and advocate for others with pre-existing conditions and their right for affordable healthcare.
"Just because they were diagnosed with something at the age of four shouldn't limit their ability to have insurance when they become of age," said Laura Dandurand.
Insurance only covers a portion of insulin.
"Per vial we pay about $80 and $100," said Dan Dandurand.
That’s only a portion of what they’re paying.
"Just for diabetes itself we're sitting at $15,000 to $20,000 a year. That's medical only, not juices or alcohol swabs,” said Dan Dandurand.
“Or the hospital stays if they have strep throat or emergency room stays for complications," said Laura Dandurand.
Those other items are alcohol swabs, test strips, glucose tabs and more.
Then there's the cost of visits to an endocrinologist four times a year, thyroid tests and an eye exam.
Plus the need to have emergency supplies on hand at places like schools and relatives' houses.
"Literally when it's the only way to keep them alive, you're going to do anything you can do to keep your child alive," said Laura Dandurand.
The Danddurands want to see a change but advocacy brings its own expenses.
"You have to afford to go lobby. Travel and pay for the flights and hotels. There's no money left over to even do that. The frightening part of that is they know that there's large amounts of us that would sit on Washington Doors Step but we can't afford to do that and they're counting on that," said Dan Dandurand.
So they do what they can.
"I've written a few letters I've contacted our state representatives," said Laura Dandurand.
With the 2020 Presidential Election coming up, they've been paying close attention to what the candidates are advocating for on health care, especially for pre-existing conditions.
Under The Affordable Care Act, Noah and Emma will stay on their parents' insurance plan until they're both 26-years-old, except there's talk on repealing that provision.
If it is repealed, it could mean they would have to get their own insurance plan several years sooner.
"How are they going to provide for themselves medically and additionally out of college with a low paying job. We never want our kids to question do I have enough insulin? Do I have to hold back on what I have to make it to the next pay day,” said Laura Dandurand.
Another concern is the rising cost of medication, not due to increased production costs, but because the company making it can.
"A lot of the changes they're making are for profit not cost for making more research. The people being hurt by it is us,” said Dan Dandurand.
Moving forward, the Dandurands know they're not alone in this fight and they'll continue to fight for not only for Type 1 Diabetic patients, but for everyone with a pre-existing condition.
"It's scary because my children should the ability to enjoy life and have a career and they can, but they can't afford it if they're not to busy spending their money on their medical which isn't their fault," said Dan Dandurand.
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