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Living With Type 1 Diabetes Empowers Me to Do Something Bigger Than Myself

brec bassinger-stargirl-t1d-diabetes
brec bassinger-stargirl-t1d-diabetes
Brec Bassinger, Photo by Manfred Baumann

Actress Brec Bassinger, star of the CW series “Stargirl,” shares how she stays strong in the face of type 1 diabetes and why she’s a passionate advocate for affordable insulin.

Living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) can be a daily burden and much more complicated than people who don’t live with the disease may understand. But my T1D has given me the opportunity to do something much bigger than myself. 

My life with T1D

I have always dreamed of a career in the entertainment industry, but the journey hasn’t been easy. Diagnosed at eight years old, I manage T1D while traveling and spending long days on TV and movie sets. Because the disease is still widely misunderstood, I make it a point on my first day on a new set to share my diagnoses with the director, first assistant director, and medic so everyone is aware of what could happen if my blood sugar goes too high or too low. I also keep juice and snacks around for emergencies.

One of my most empowering experiences has been working alongside my fellow T1D co-star, Cameron Gellman, aka Hourman, on “Stargirl.” Two superhero diabetics – THAT was exciting for me. The hours we worked were insane and extremely taxing, but having someone on set who understood what I was going through allowed us to support each other through our obstacles. Having the opportunity to share our journeys to help educate and advocate for others living with the disease has been extremely rewarding. 

A defining moment

While T1D is a burden some days, I know I’m fortunate to have a strong support system and access to affordable insulin and diabetes technology to make managing the disease easier and safer. However, I know that is not the case for everyone, and it’s critical that this changes. 

I was filming on set one day, and I met another diabetic. We immediately bonded, sharing T1D stories. He proceeded to tell me he hadn’t checked his blood sugar in four weeks. I was mortified. I let him use my meter, and it was dangerously high. He hadn’t checked his blood sugar, not because he didn’t want to, but because he couldn’t afford his prescriptions. I was heartbroken. How could anyone be denied insulin – the very thing we need to LIVE? A fire was lit.

Advocating to make an impact

That’s why I’m super passionate about advocating for federal funding for research and affordable insulin. I’m grateful to join efforts with JDRF to bring greater awareness to T1D and connect with other T1D families. People with T1D don’t choose to develop the disease, and they should always be able to get what they need, no matter the circumstances. Undoubtedly, having access to insulin and new technologies has improved my quality of life. I’m determined to do all I can to ensure others get the resources they need to live a full, active life.

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