Reegan’s Rule, signed into law in North Carolina, is considered the first legislative action taken in the country to improve pediatric screening for Type 1 diabetes. While it is considered a victory, it also shows the incremental progress of the legislative process. What began as a bill to mandate screening for Type 1 diabetes morphed into a bill that encouraged doctors to talk to parents of children under the age of five about the symptoms and risks of Type 1 diabetes. It was hailed as groundbreaking legislation by some diabetes activists and a missed opportunity by others.
But what does it mean for the parents who lost their child to undiagnosed diabetes?
Reegan Karice Oxendine died at 16 months of age from complications to untreated Type 1 diabetes. Her parents started the social media campaign and lobbying effort that led to this legislation to honor their child and make sure other parents don’t have to experience the same kind of tragedy.
Reegan’s mom, Dee Oxendine, agreed to a phone interview with Insulin Nation after the family contacted our publication to correct an error in a previous article. She is a middle school teacher who earned her degree and teaching credentials after her children were born. While the postings on the Facebook page dedicated to Reegan’s Rule were celebratory when the bill became law, Dee knows it was an imperfect victory.
“Yes, we’d have liked to have more done,” she said.
She said that consulting with legislative counsel at the American Diabetes Association prepared her for the compromise that was likely to come. Rather than view the result as a loss, she and her family, friends, and neighbors see it as a successful first step. Now, she’s begun researching other legislative efforts in the other 49 state houses. She also says she will be back in Raleigh, too, to continue the lobbying effort.
“We’ve got a good start,” she said.
Currently, there are efforts to draft bills to enhance Type 1 diabetes screening in Florida and Pennsylvania, as well as a bill to improve insulin access in Ohio. Whatever comes next will build on the efforts of the family and friends of Reegan Karice Oxendine.
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