On March 27, POISON singer Bret Michaels joined Senator Richard Roth at a hearing at California State Capitol on a bill meant to improve education in California schools about type 1 diabetes.
The bill, which will shed more light on this disease by requiring school districts to work with schools serving K-12 students to identify methods of informing parents and students about T1D, and will require schools to implement those methods, was approved unanimously by the California Senate Education Committee.
"As a type 1 diabetic since the age of six, and now at the age of 56, it is so important, this Senate bill, 138, to pass this through," Michaels said (see video below). "Education and empowerment is everything.
"For me, as a child, I was dignosed at the age of six, and was extremely, extremely sick, and no one understood what it was because there was no education on it," he continued. "As a diabetic, your blood sugar level can rise extremely high. Mine got up to almost 800, which was putting me into a ketoacidosis level. Because of the uneducation on it, my family, as much as they loved me, thought I had the flu or [was] dehydrated. [I was] misdiagnosed by the school nurse, doctors.
"When I got the hospital, I spent almost a month in the hospital once they diagnosed and were able to start to correct the high blood sugar level.
"It is a very, very deadly disease if left undiagnosed.
"I think it is such a strong bill, this bill, to educate and let everyone know.
"If you have that empowerment and that knowledge that we talk about and the ability to educate people and them to go in and be able to check their blood sugar — it could be as simple as a finger stick, and it shows any kind of elevated level at all — it gives them a chance to immediately be able to prepare themselves to do something about it.
"Like the shirt says in our campaign, if you know… have knowledge is power. Next is being able to survive that impact, because it not just impacts the child, with you now with diabetes, the whole family — everybody — is impacted. And then, all of a sudden, to be able to thrive, you wanna live an unbelievably great life — you wanna have that chance. And I say please consider this so that we are not victims but victors."
State Senator Richard Roth (D-Riverside), who is responsible for introducing the legislation, said: "Type 1 diabetes can be difficult to manage let alone diagnose. Failure to diagnose and begin treatments can have life-threatening ramifications. What we are asking for with this bill is that children and their parents have critical information made available to them. This will have a life-changing impact on anyone who may develop this potentially fatal disease."
Health care authorities say that type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune system disease. That means a person's immune system attacks the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Early diagnosis and treatment is considered crucial. Once diagnosed, a child can receive an individualized health care plan coupling treatment with education, support and ongoing assessment of possible complications.
"Lack of awareness and education can cost someone their life. We must empower parents to be informed advocates for their children by giving them the resources they need," insisted Roth .