Michigan Wolverine, Hannah Knoll Heads to College with T1D in Tow


“My life dramatically changed when I was first diagnosed at 10-years-old, and it was nerve-wracking, but from the very beginning, I told myself I was going to stay on top of this [type one diabetes],” explained Hannah Knoll. “I was going to continue to dance, work out and do the things I love.”

Hannah, a recent high school grad, reflects on the challenges type one diabetes [T1D] has presented her with a sense of pride. Her quality of life has not been restrained by her diagnosis, but rather, has flourished thanks to her strong will to overcome and succeed. As she became more independent with age, Hannah understood T1D needs to be managed 24/7, but at times, she needs to actively pause to reflect on how she feels physically. Still, she certainly hasn’t let it take over her life and reminds others of this as well.

“Whenever I talk to other diabetics, I want them to know they can still do the things they enjoy,” said Hannah. “Over the past few years, I have met with newly-diagnosed children and enjoy answering their questions, giving advice and being able to encourage them. Despite the challenge of seeing another child diagnosed, it’s always felt right to be able to do that for them.”

And as she gets ready to head to The University of Michigan in the fall for college classes, Hannah carries that passion with her. “Since I was diagnosed, my dream has been to become a pediatric endocrinologist…because the doctors we see aren’t living with T1D. Being able to face challenges unique to life with type one, I better understand and want to help diabetic children as best as possible.”

On her transition from high school to college, Hannah is both excited and nervous, like many of the other young adults with whom she will soon have classes. Having been responsible for her own T1D care, she is confident her family and friends’ ongoing support and encouragement have prepared her for this new chapter. “I think the diabetes part will be fine, but I’m more nervous about being away at college,” Hannah joked.

In light of a recent hip injury, she hopes to someday have the opportunity to dance at school, maybe as part of a club, noting T1D is not to blame. “I have never let T1D stop me from doing anything,” Hannah said. “And I am grateful for resources like doctors, supplies, a network of supporters and JDRF that have allowed me to successfully manage my type 1 over the last 7 years.”

“My parents, family, close friends and even their families have always been so generous when it comes to supporting me, especially towards One Walk efforts,” Hannah shared. “I look forward to many more years of helping fund a cure.”

Hannah raised more than $13,000 for the JDRF Metro Detroit One Walk in 2018, and despite her soon-to-be-active college schedule, is in the midst of fundraising once again with her Detroit family of supporters. But, luckily for Hannah, should she ever wish to change things up, Ann Arbor One Walk is just a short drive from campus, and she knows that money raised towards any JDRF effort will fund T1D cure research wherever life takes her.

Join Hannah and her team on Sunday, September 22, 2019, at Milliken State Park/ Detroit River Walk in Detroit as they walk to end T1D. For more information or to register for One Walk, please click here.