Advocating for a cure

Fourth-grader travels to Washington, D.C. to support diabetes prevention

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Hathaway Elementary School fourth-grader Paige Maas stands with U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Camas during a trip to Washington, D.C. to advocate for diabetes research and prevention.

Paige Maas may only be 10 years old, but the petite fourth-grader is making a big impact in the fight against diabetes.

Paige, a Washougal resident, has Type 1 diabetes, which requires that she check her blood sugar several times a day and carefully monitor her food and fluid intake. She was diagnosed three years ago.

However, rather than let her parents handle the details of managing her diabetes, Paige has taken an active role.

This has included advocating for diabetes research and prevention at the state Capitol, raising thousands in the annual “Tour de Cure,” bike ride and meeting with representatives from the American Diabetes Association.

In March, this determination took Paige and her family all the way to Washington D.C., where she joined others from the ADA to urge congress to financially support the research and prevention of Type 1 and 2 diabetes.

“I was really excited when the (ADA) asked me to go,” Paige said. “I was really looking forward to it.”

The whirlwind trip from March 23 to 25 included visiting the Lincoln Memorial and other historic sites, as well as the offices of all 10 Washington state representatives and senators.

All of the meetings occurred on March 25, which is the ADA’s Alert Day for Type 2 diabetes prevention. Type 2 is different from Type 1, in that with the correct treatment and recommended lifestyle changes, many people are able to prevent or delay the onset of complications.

Maas admits to being “a little nervous” before meeting with elected officials. Not all of them were available, but she was able to speak with Sen. Maria Cantwell’s legislative correspondent, Sen. Patty Murray’s health fellow, as well as Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Camas.

“It was truly an amazing experience and Congresswoman Herrera Beutler was very engaged while chatting with Paige,” her dad, Brad, recalled. Added Paige, “She was different from the other people. She asked me a lot of questions. I hope I get to go again.”

This summer, she will be participating in the Tour de Cure on July 26 for the third year in a row. Donations to Paige’s cause can be made at