Riley Fincher-Foster Goes to Washington

CHARLOTTE, NC — Millions of people across the Carolinas,  including 1.3 million in North Carolina alone, stand to lose health care coverage under the proposed senate plan. An especially devastating prospect for families with children having pre-existing medical conditions like juvenile diabetes.

“I didn’t even know what this was,” says 8 year old Riley Fincher-Foster, describing how she felt. “I didn’t know what was going to happen to me. I didn’t know if I was going to die. I didn’t know if I was going to live. I didn’t know anything.”

Riley was just four when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

“You get a child that has a diagnosis like this, that literally every minute, of every day, we’re keeping her alive,” says Riley’s mom Courtney.

Today, Riley wears a patch to monitor her blood sugar level, and a pump delivers life-saving insulin. Technology that allows her to live with few restrictions.

“I tell them that it’s a sensor for type one diabetes,” says Riley. “And that it’s a medical device, and it helps me live.”

The Fincher-Fosters are like so many families in the Carolinas and across the country.

“This little tiny device on her arm is about $100 a week,” says Courtney about Riley’s patch.

Insurance, secondary insurance, thousands of dollars in out of pocket costs.

“The cost, even with insurance, is insane,” says Courtney. “It is outrageous what we pay out of pocket as it is. So not having coverage makes it impossible to keep our daughter alive.”

Health care legislation that would impact insurance for pre-existing conditions is a major concern.

“Anyone that’s living with type one, there’s nothing they could have done to prevent it,” Courtney continues. “And there’s nothing they can do to get rid of it right now.”

“I like dancing, singing,” says Riley. “I like acting. Everything.”

Riley loves the theater, and hopes to be on Broadway someday.

She’s also an activist and fundraiser for juvenile diabetes research. Next month, she will represent South Carolina at the 2017 Children’s Congress.

“Going to Washington, DC to speak in front of all of Congress, to tell them that we need a cure,” says Riley.

Riley will join a delegation of children from all 50 states to lobby congress in Washington, D.C. from July 24-26.