People to Know 2015: Hunter Sego
When I came to work for the American Diabetes Association in mid-2013, Hunter Sego was already a legend. “Find a student who can personify the need for diabetes care in the school setting,” I heard as I began advocating in support of Safe at School legislation in Kentucky and Ohio. “You know, someone like Hunter.”
Clearly, this Hunter dude had made an impact on the American Diabetes Association—and the Indiana legislature. I soon learned that Indiana’s Safe at School law had been dubbed “Hunter’s Law” after the compelling testimony and strong advocacy of then 10-year-old Hunter, who had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 7.
Fast forward to early this year, when legislation was introduced in Indiana to repeal several sections of the education code, including Hunter’s Law. Upon hearing of the threat to his eponymous law, Hunter, now an 18-year-old high school senior, dropped everything to travel to the Indiana Capitol to testify again.
With the confidence and maturity of a seasoned advocate, Hunter explained to the Indiana Senate Education Committee how dangerous it would be to repeal a law that protects students with diabetes. Hunter’s advocacy—and that of his mother, Kathy—resulted in the introduction and adoption of an amendment to preserve the state’s Safe at School law. His testimony was so effective that even the sponsor of the bill to repeal Hunter’s Law supported the amendment to save it.
After a senior football season filled with honors, awards, and recognitions, Hunter will be kicking for the DePauw University football team in Greencastle, Indiana, this fall. He will also continue his diabetes advocacy and further prove that people living with diabetes are leading effective, productive, and inspiring lives.
Gary Dougherty is associate director of State Government Affairs for the American Diabetes Association and also the Indiana state advocacy director. Diabetes has touched his life through his mother’s diagnosis and that of other close family members and friends.