JDRF is the world’s largest non profit funder of type one diabetes research, and it was founded by two women.

Over 50 years ago, Lee Ducat and Carol Curie joined forces when their children were diagnosed with T1D,  and brought others into a community committed to prevention, treatment and ultimately a cure for the disease.

With March being Women’s History Month, the JDRF Mountain West Chapter decided to recognize seven Colorado women who continue to stand up and champion the T1D community.

Kyle Dyer Storytelling produced video stories for JDRF’s 2024 Dream Gala, capturing the journeys of seven “Women in T1D.”  Mindy Buehler, Irma Crepps, Karen O’Brien and Kami Welch are all mothers with children living with this disease. Margaret Ester, Megan Harmon and Dr. Kimber Simmons have lived with T1D for most of their lives. Dr. Simmons is a pediatric endocrinologist and researcher at the Barbara Davis Center in Aurora, Colorado.  Being diagnosed as a child ended up directing Dr. Simmons into her life’s purpose: comforting and treating other children living with T1D and becoming part of a research team that is working to find a cure.

Each of these women recognized at the JDRF Dream Gala are determined to do what they can to find a cure for type one diabetes, while making day to day life easier. Fundraising for research is a big focus, especially for Karen O’Brien, who owns Floyd’s 99 Barbershop with her husband. Since her daughter was diagnosed, Floyd’s 99 has sold coupon books to customers as a fundraiser for JDRF and over the years, Floyd’s 99 has raised more than $2 million for research, much of which is taking place at the Barbara Davis Center.

For Irma Crepps, it was soon after her daughter was diagnosed as a child, that she realized she could not feasibly cook two meals for her family, with one being low carb for her daughter. Aside from her work as a nurse, Irma loves to cook and started creating low carb recipes that the entire family enjoyed. She shares all of what she’s discovered on her website Low Carbvana, which Irma hopes takes some stress out of the lives of caregivers, especially at meal time.

Margaret Esler openly shares how T1D has side effects and for her. Her kidneys started failing and less than two years ago, she underwent a kidney transplant. Her mother was her donor.  Margaret is doing well and advocates for research funding with state and congressional lawmakers.

Megan Harmon has also had to live decades with T1D but she doesn’t let it define her. When she was younger, doctors told her she wouldn’t be able to have children or be active. Megan has proven those doctors wrong time and time again. She’s determined to do so. The avid athlete has two teenage daughters who at this point don’t show any signs of T1D.

Kami Welch has a very active family as well and was on a camping trip when her son Reid started acting off. Once he was at the hospital, doctors diagnosed Reid with T1D. He was very sick but now, he is thriving and advocating for himself and others with T1D. Kami watches in awe how he shares with classmates what it is like to live with type 1 diabetes.

Mindy Buehler’s teenage daughter doesn’t like to talk about it as much with her peers and rather chooses to quietly, yet fiercely, show her strength as an athelete. For years on the soccer sidelines, Mindy watched her daughter, wondering what her blood sugars were like, and she felt helpless. Yet, at the same time, her daughter was growing with a wise confidence and is empowered to take control of her health to achieve all she wants in her life.

Near the end of the Dream Gala, KDS produced another short video featuring the Women in T1D as they stressed the urgent need to staying committed to the research so that there will be a cure sooner rather than later. This video ran right before the evening’s Fund a Cure paddle raiser.

Each of the Women in T1D serve as a great reminder of the work originally laid out by Lee Ducat and Carol Curie. And these women continue to inspire others that if we work together, we can create a world without type 1 diabetes.