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May. 21, 2022 | Saturday
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Maya takes fight for diabetes monitors to Queen’s Park
Maya Webster visited Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates Wednesday at Queen’s Park to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s attempt to have the Ontario government fully fund continuous glucose monitoring devices. (Kevin Maclean/Niagara Now)

Eight-year-old Maya Webster took her fight for government-funded glucose monitors to Queen’s Park Wednesday.

The Niagara-on-the-Lake youngster, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age two, met with Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates, other politicians and joined the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s lobbying effort to have continuous glucose monitoring devices covered by the province.

Maya’s mother Christi said their family is lucky – her work benefits pay the $4,000 annual cost of the monitor device and supplies. Many others are not so fortunate.

Gates presented the Legislature with a petition that Maya compiled over the summer and urged the health ministry to step up and pay for the potentially lifesaving monitors.

“We’re working very hard and being very loud” to try to make that happen, said Christi Webster. “And we appreciate all the work that Mr. Gates is doing.”

Maya, a precocious, well-spoken youngster, said, “I just want this to be available for everyone.”

The technology for the continuous glucose monitoring devices is still evolving, but is a major step up from multiple daily finger pricks and other systems, like flash glucose devices, that don’t warn when a patient’s blood sugar reaches an unsafe level.

“This system can save lives,” said Webster.

Unfortunately, continuous glucose monitoring is expensive and its components have to be replaced every three months at a cost of $1,000 each time, she said.

Gates said he was “impressed and inspired by the dedication Maya has shown to people in our community.”

“People, especially young people like Maya who stand up for their fellow community members, are what make Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Fort Erie such a great place to live,” he said in a media statement.