Victor Garber has turned his personal experience with type 1 diabetes into a personal mission.
The actor, who was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 11, marked World Diabetes Day this week by raising awareness for the #SeeDiabetes campaign and advocating for greater access to diabetes care.
Garber told CNN that he wants to educate the public on what type 1 diabetes is.
“It’s to help people understand what we’re dealing with and what we as type ones go through every day is more than people realize,” he said. “It’s about children and wanting to help mothers with young children. I can’t even imagine how difficult that is to send your child off to school every day and not really be able to know how they’re going to get through it.”
Garber said that throughout his career, he has had to monitor his glucose levels while on sets and working. His “Alias” co-star and real-life good friend Jennifer Garner played an important role in his healthcare while they worked together.
“It’s been written about it, and I’m happy to say we are very close,” he said. “You know, I remember, I can tell you we first met that her concern for looking after me on the set, given my diabetes, was one of the most important things to her. And so she was always saying, ‘I think he needs some orange juice.’ And I would say, ‘Jennifer, I’m fine.’ She said, ‘you’re not, I could tell.’”
Garber said at the time “Alias” was airing from 2001 – 2006, he wasn’t as public about his diabetes.
“I was not embarrassed, but when you feel like you’re compromised in some way, you don’t want people to dote over you or to worry about you,” he said.
“I kept it kind of under my sleeve,” Garber added. “Jennifer was one of the first people who really, you know, kind of educated people all around me on the crew and everything. And she sort of brought it out in the open, which was incredibly generous and helpful because, there were days when I wasn’t sure what was happening, and she was able to set me straight.”
She even accompanied him to some of his medical appointments, he said.
Garber also spoke to Congress in 2019, calling it “emotional,” because the price of insulin was “so out of whack” it caused patients to suffer.
“It’s about finding a cure and it just needs funding,” he said. “We need to tell Congress to pile up the dough, and people need to be aware that this is possible. Certainly for children, particularly, it’s essential that [funding] moves forward as quickly as possible.”
A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Garber spoke to members of Congress this week. It has been updated.