Just weeks after setting a national long-jumping record, Kate Hall, 18, of Casco, testified in front of a U.S. Senate committee last Wednesday about what it was like to set the record without the glucose monitor she needs to track her blood sugar levels.

On June 21, Hall, a Type 1 diabetic, jumped 22 feet and 5 inches at the New Balance national meet, breaking the national records for women under the age of 20 and high school-aged girls – a record that went unbroken for 39 years.

Then on the afternoon of July 15, Hall testified in Washington, D.C., in front of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, chaired by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. Hall, who graduated from Lake Region High School this year and will study exercise science at Iowa State University in the fall, spoke for five minutes, describing the struggles of life with diabetes, as well as her recent experience monitoring her blood sugar levels during the New Balance national meet.

Hall noted that when she had switched insurance companies earlier this year, she did not realize her new provider would not cover the costs of a new continuous glucose monitor, a device that conveniently delivers regular blood sugar level readings. Hall, who could not remember the name of the company in an interview, said she has not been able to use a glucose monitor for the entirety of this year’s track and field season.

“It made it so I had to prick my finger every half hour while I was competing, give or take a half hour because if it was going to be high or low,” Hall said. “It would have been good to have that glucose monitor so I could see what my blood sugar is instead of pricking my finger.”

Hall said it would have been especially nice to have the monitor during the New Balance meet.

“It was just another thing that I had to pay attention to, which at that point I really just wanted to focus on the meet and my jumping,” she said. “It would have been good to have that glucose monitor so I could see what my blood sugar is instead of pricking my finger.”

According to Hall, Collins assured her she would rectify the situation.

“Susan Collins she said she was going to get that fixed for me,” Hall said. “I will be getting one in the mail soon.”

Collins’ spokeswoman Jen Burita, who also did not provide the name of the insurance company, confirmed that Collins had tried to fix the problem after hearing Hall’s testimony.

“My understanding is that we were able to successfully resolve her insurance issue,” Burita said. “We believe this has been resolved favorably.”

Hall, who wants to compete in the Olympics for track-and-field, said the experience of testifying in front of half a dozen United States senators was “unbelievable.”

“I was kind of nervous going into it, but it was such an amazing experience,” she said. “It was so nice to meet other people that I can relate to and other people going through this. It was unbelievable and I know I’ll never forget it.”

Hall said she loved the opportunity to speak out on behalf of diabetics.

“I’ve had it for eight years and I know what it entails but I also know people who don’t think they can really do much with their lives because they have diabetes,” she said. “It’s really nice to let people know that’s not the case. You can pretty much do anything you want to do as long as you control it and have a good mindset about it.”

Hall’s trainer Chris Pribish described her as an “inspiration.”

“Kate’s done an amazing job managing and competing with her diabetes,” he said. “She has never let her diabetes get in the way of her hard work and determination to become a champion.”

“Kate’s diabetes has caused some complications during training and the track season, but she takes it in stride and continues to press forward,” Pribish added. “She has never used it as an excuse or let it deter her from working toward her goals. She is an inspiration to myself and so many people. She is a remarkable person, and her achievements on the track are only part of what makes her so special.”

Asked how she was holding up amid all the national records and high-level testimonies, Hall said things were “going pretty well.”

“It’s a little hectic,” she said. “I also love it at the same time. I’m not really complaining.”

Kate Hall speaks with Maine Sen. Susan Collins after testifying last week in Washington, D.C. Kate Hall, 18, a record-breaking long jumper from Casco, testifies in front of the Senate Special Committee on Aging about her Type 1 diabetes. Courtesy photos

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