NJ Rare Diseases - My9 New Jersey

NJ Rare Diseases

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Glen Ridge, New Jersey (My9NJ) - Finding out that your child has been diagnosed with a disease is devastating. Oftentimes there are support groups offered that help you connect with people who may be going through the same situation as you.

However, imagine that your child is diagnosed with an extremely rare disease that is found in fewer than 1 in 200,000 Americans nationwide, many of those families can feel completely alone. That is how Julie Raskin felt when she found out that her son Ben was diagnosed with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare disease that causes the overproduction of insulin in newborn babies.

Ben is now a 17-year old senior at Glen Ridge High School who still suffers the consequences of this rare condition. This includes suffering from epilepsy, being legally blind and checking his insulin multiple times a day after having his pancreas removed as part of his treatment.

“Now I’m a type 1 diabetic. And I check (my sugar) on average like at least four times a day. Once before breakfast, once before lunch, once at dinner and once before bed,” he said.

Rare diseases impact between 25 and 30 million patients nationwide and Julie explained how decisions by the state and federal government greatly determine how these children will be treated.

“Insurance is very much determined by the state that you live in and now with the affordable care act, each state is implementing its own state insurance exchanges. So the kind of plan you have, what’s in the plan, is kind of determined by the state,” she said.

Julie has even addressed the senate health committee to get help with her son’s problem through the organization NJ Rare. Through her involvement with NJ Rare, Julie hopes to strengthen the profile of rare diseases and give a voice to those with a rare condition.

“Here in New Jersey we have a special kind of mission, I think, for the whole rare disease community of the world,” she said.


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