Texas man was hospitalized with diabetes. 3 years later, he's a lawmaker fighting insulin costs.

The difference between a politician and a public servant may be a matter of semantics, but when it comes to getting legislation passed that actually helps people, the contrast is stark.

Texas Representative James Talarico is on a mission to get his constituents the life-saving medicine they need. The 31-year-old lawmaker has just introduced legislation that would cap the price of insulin—a medicine people with type 1 diabetes need to live, which has become unaffordable for many—at $50 a month.

The mission is personal for Talarico, as he nearly died three years ago when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

He shared his story on Twitter:

"In May 2018, I was a healthy 28-year-old running for the Texas House. I decided to walk the entire length of my district and hold town halls along the way. I hike Big Bend every year, so I wasn't concerned about a 25 mile walk...

But halfway through the walk, I began feeling nauseous and fatigued. Before the town hall in Hutto, I vomited in the bathroom."


Taralico assumed he was dehydrated, so he changed his shirt, drank some water, and kept walking. He threw up four more times in the last 12 miles of the walk, but finished it.

"After the walk, I went to bed thinking I needed a good night's sleep," he wrote. "But I slept for 36 hours."

"My parents rushed me to the hospital where nurses checked my blood sugar. A normal blood glucose level is below 100. Mine was 900. I was immediately diagnosed with type 1 diabetes."

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease with an unknown cause. It can come on at any time but is usually diagnosed before age 40. (Most type 1 diabetics are diagnosed between ages 4 and 14.) Unlike type 2 diabetes, which can generally be controlled with dietary changes, type 1 diabetics must inject themselves with insulin because their pancreas can't produce it.

Talarico was in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which will lead to a coma and death unless the person is given insulin. He spent five days in the ICU.

"Now I have a glucose monitor on my arm & take shots of insulin every day," he wrote. "As long as I take care of myself, I'll live a long life."

However, he discovered firsthand how the cost of insulin can be life-threatening for people. He pointed out that in the last 20 years, insulin prices have shot up 1200% while manufacturing costs have stayed relatively constant.

"Even with health insurance, I paid $684 for my first 30-day supply of insulin—the medicine I need to live," he wrote. "I had to put it on a credit card.

Now that I'm a legislator, I have excellent state health insurance to cover my insulin. Every Texan should be entitled to the same."

As Talarico explains it, there are three primary reasons for the price hike:

1) The $27 billion global insulin market is a monopoly controlled by three companies: Sanofi, Eli Lilly, and Novo Nordisk. They can fix their prices, and appear to increase them in lockstep with one another.

2) There's no generic option. Because insulin is a biological product and not a chemical one, it's harder to produce a generic version. "The big three companies enter into 'pay for delay' schemes where they pay potential biosimilar manufacturers not to enter the market," he wrote.

3) These companies have no competition. "The big three companies surround their insulin patent with lots of other patents to make the original patent last longer (known as 'evergreening')," he wrote. "Then they spend millions in lobbying to prevent policymakers from closing any of these loopholes."

"Putting profits over people has deadly consequences," Taralico added, pointing out that Texans with diabetes fund their necessary medicines with GoFundMe pages or resorting to the black market. "And in the richest country in the world, 1 in 4 diabetics risk their lives by rationing insulin."

Taralico's legislation would cap out-of-pocket costs for insulin at $50 per month, in addition to requiring the Attorney General to investigate rising prices. His bill in the House and a complementary bill in the Senate make up "a bipartisan, bicameral effort" Talarico says. If passed, the legislation would make Texas the 16th state—and the largest one—to put a cap on insulin prices.

"Insulin should be free, because insulin is a human right," Talarico wrote. "This is an idea that's time has come."

Here's hoping that the Texas legislature supports Talarico's efforts and makes this life-saving medicine affordable for all diabetics. And here's hoping that more states follow suit.


Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."