Emma McCoy

Emma McCoy displays some of the hand-painted railroad spikes she used to raise money to help find a cure for diabetes. Emma donated $1,000 to the Barbara Davis Center of the Children's Diabetes Foundation at Denver on Sept. 16.

Emma McCoy was a second grader four years ago when she was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. 

Last month, it was her opportunity to pay it forward with a $1,000 donation to the Barbara Davis Center of the Children’s Diabetes Foundation at Denver, money she raised herself through her art.

There’s no cure yet for Type 1 diabetes, and Emma, now a fifth grader at Lake County Intermediate School, said her donation will go toward research. When she was first diagnosed, Emma admits she was scared.

“I didn’t want to take the (insulin) shots,” she said.

But some good things have come from the experience

“I’m more independent,” Emma said. “More able to take care of myself.”

She is currently on an insulin pump, but that still means she has to be aware of what she eats, check her blood sugar and treat it accordingly via the pump.

Emma raised her money through painting railroad spikes that she found near an abandoned track when she was camping with her family, which consists of her parents, John and Juanita, and little sister Ruby. 

“Why don’t I do something with these?” she asked herself. The tops of the spikes are painted as lady bugs, bees, Colorado flags and more. 

Emma’s mother said the spikes are particularly appropriate because Emma’s grandfather, Max Tafoya, who died Aug. 3, worked for the Denver and Rio Grande railroad. He is Juanita McCoy’s father.

Emma has 105 spikes left and continues to sell after donating the $1,000. Anyone interested in obtaining one or more spikes at $2.50 each should call the McCoy home at 486-2700.

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