Heard on the Hill

‘I learned to inject oranges with insulin syringes’: Victor Garber on Type 1 diabetes

Familiar face from ‘Titanic’ urges Congress to renew research funding

Actor Victor Garber, who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 11, testifies during a Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing in the Dirksen Building on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If you ever went to the movies in the ’90s or the early aughts, you may recognize Victor Garber as the “bad guy” from “Legally Blonde” or “the ship designer” from “Titanic,” but on Wednesday the award-winning actor came to Capitol Hill with a script that was a little more personal.

Garber says he’s lived with Type 1 diabetes for nearly 60 years. Joined by kid-advocates with the disease, he urged Chairwoman Susan Collins and ranking member Bob Casey of the Senate Special Committee on Aging to renew the Special Diabetes Program at the National Institutes of Health.

Failure to renew by the end of September would mean $150 million in lost funding for Type 1 diabetes research, according to nonprofit JDRF.

“After my diagnosis, I was kept in the hospital, where I learned to inject oranges with insulin syringes, until I was brave enough to try it on myself,” the Tony-award winning performer said of his childhood diagnosis.

Garber thanked the committee for their time but had choice words for the rising cost of insulin: “The idea that someone has to ration insulin in 2019, due to greed and avarice, is unconscionable.”

The actor, also known for his role as the Canadian ambassador to Iran in “Argo,” was joined by JDRF Children’s Congress advocates Adrianna and Ruby — two young constituents of Casey and Collins, respectively, who also have Type 1 diabetes.

“When I grow up, I want to be a scientist,” said 9-year-old Ruby. “And if they haven’t found a cure for diabetes then, I will.”

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