Photograph by Michael Cevoli
Every mover, shaker and brilliant innovator starts somewhere. Katrina Diel, in some ways, is a typical eleven-year-old kid. She plays violin, likes riding her Razor and clothes shopping. Olaf is her favorite character in “Frozen.” Two years ago, Diel was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. For almost a year, she managed the disease with multiple — eight, ten, sometimes twelve — daily injections. Eventually she switched from injection therapy to an Omnipod, a small insulin pump that adheres to the skin for several days at a time. Avoiding so many daily sticks was great, but Diel had a problem. “It looked like a big bandage,” she says of the pump that was often visible when she wore short sleeves, a leotard to ballet class or swam at the beach. For her, a big bandage wouldn’t do. Last year, when she and her fellow fifth graders were challenged to develop ideas for the Invention Convention, she seized the opportunity. Using clay, Diel modeled a cover for her insulin pump. She envisioned something unobtrusive that wouldn’t have to be thrown away every three days with the pump. Diel’s concept has since become Kedz Covers, a company that produces reusable polypropylene covers for Omnipods. (Katrina, the company’s artistic designer, created its logo.) The final product was designed by a Rhode Island artist, and the covers are manufactured in Massachusetts. Her father, Fred Diel, Kedz Covers president, says they’ve manufactured “somewhere in the thousands and have sold somewhere in the hundreds.” The covers are currently available in four colors and sell for about $20. Which color is Katrina’s favorite? Pink, of course.