JDRF’s TypeOneNation Summits offer education, connection, and inspiration to help people with type 1 diabetes (T1D) live their best lives. Our March virtual session honored Women’s History Month with a conversation about T1D issues important to women.
Hosted by sports journalist Jordan Ligons Robinson, the event featured incredible women with type 1 diabetes sharing their experiences with balancing career and family, body image, pregnancy, and more.
Check out some of the highlights below:
JDRF Research Update
JDRF research scientist Cassandra Bazile, Ph.D., opened the session with an update on JDRF’s research strategy. She highlighted the work being done by JDRF-funded women scientists in disease-modifying therapies. Dr. Bazile also explained the history behind the recent FDA approval of Tzield, the first disease-modifying therapy for T1D.
T1D’s Impact on Women’s Health Stages
Sarit Polsky, MD, MPH, Director of Pregnancy and Women’s Health Clinic at the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, covered several health topics important to women with type 1 diabetes. She talked in-depth about T1D’s impact on the menstrual cycle and menopause. Dr. Polsky also provided tips for a healthy pregnancy with T1D, such as the benefits of wearing a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and target time-in-range.
Balancing it All with T1D
Portia Benbow is the Corporate Social Responsibility Manager for the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. Her career allows her to mix her passion for community service with her love of basketball to make a positive impact on her city. Portia talked to Jordan about her T1D diagnosis at age 11 and overcoming self-consciousness about her disease. She attributes her success to surrounding herself with a community of people with (and without) T1D. She also discussed the steps she is taking to prepare for a healthy pregnancy with T1D.
T1D on Broadway
Tony-nominated actor Caitlin Kinnunen talked to Jordan about her T1D diagnosis at 8 years old and balancing it with being on stage, singing, and dancing. Caitlin expressed that while T1D is a very individual disease, it’s important to have a support system. “In sharing my story I’ve been able to connect with more and more people who have gone what I have gone through,” she said. “It not only makes it easier, it makes me feel less alone.”
Caitlin also presented a special tribute to Mary Tyler Moore, a pioneer in television and entertainment, an inspiration to women, and a fierce advocate for the T1D community. “Despite the daily burdens of this disease, Mary affected change with professionalism, grace, determination, and unbreakable optimism,” Caitlin said. The Mary Tyler Moore Vision Initiative seeks to preserve and restore vision in people with diabetes, continuing Mary’s vital work as it honors her legacy.
Body Image and Dating with T1D
Kelsey Bascom is an accomplished writer, actor, and T1D advocate. Her web series, Mondays, has amassed over 10 million views on YouTube. Her upcoming movie, Quarter, uses comedy to portray an honest perspective of being a young woman living with T1D. The movie also has more than 30 people living with T1D in the cast and crew!
Kelsey was diagnosed with T1D when she was 17 years old and struggled with body image. She talked to Jordan about her journey from hiding her T1D to, today, proudly showing off her “robot parts” on Instagram to her more than 26,000 followers! Kelsey also talked to Jordan about dating with T1D and the different ways she has introduced her disease to people she dates.
Sign up for our upcoming TypeOneNation virtual sessions at https://www.jdrf.org/community/typeonenationsummits.