Diabetes Forecast

People to Know 2016: Katrina Diel

By Kyrra Richards ,

Katrina Diel
Photograph by Kimberly Diel

By the Numbers

Age 9: Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes
Age 11: Started her own diabetes-related business
Age 13: Runs KEDZ Covers, gets top grades at school, takes ballet, plays the violin

Katrina Diel moved a step beyond ordinary when, at age 9, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. But it’s her creativity and nurtured confidence that make her extraordinary. Two years after her diagnosis, the now 13-year-old Rhode Island native created a company that sells decorative shells for OmniPod insulin pumps.

KEDZ Covers was first conceived for a fifth-grade project. Although Katrina didn’t mind exposing her pump and educating curious peers, she did not like the look of the OmniPod’s semi-transparent white cover. With her parents’ networking know-how, she found a manufacturer and made her vibrant plastic pod covers a reality.

As the founder of a diabetes fashion business, I can relate to Katrina’s desire and drive to offer more personalized options for diabetes care. However, I’m blown away by this young influencer’s ability to balance a business in between homework, ballet rehearsals, and violin lessons. After receiving website orders from around the world (KEDZ Covers have been shipped as far as Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany), Katrina races to her home-basement business center and packages the pink, red, blue, and green accessories by hand.

Katrina has used her diabetes to draw strength and learn. In addition to managing a business and attending national conferences to connect with the diabetes community, she continues to achieve top grades at school and even credits her insulin calculations for improving her math skills. She has sharp reasoning skills, and her maturity stems from the need to advocate for herself at an early age.

On my mission to improve the diabetes image by promoting “style, not shame,” Katrina’s hopeful spirit is encouraging. We need innovative and motivated minds like Katrina’s to push us forward. Instead of simply accepting preexisting diabetes offerings, she designed something more beautiful. The future of diabetes is bright with young luminaries like Katrina Diel leading the way.

Kyrra Richards is a former dancer, choreographer, and model whose type 1 diagnosis opened her eyes to the lack of fashion-forward supply cases. Out of that need, Myabetic was born. Richards’ brainchild is all grown up: Not only does her online store sell a range of cases for men, women, and kids, but it has gone mainstream—and can be found in Target stores. Find out more at myabetic.com.



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