East View student’s life experiences lead to scholarship
Charlotte Hanna can sometimes hear the 2:00 a.m. alarm that wakes her mother in their River Ridge home. Soon, Jennifer Hanna will be at the bedroom door, ready to help Charlotte and her younger sister, Isabelle, check their blood sugar with a glucose meter. Charlotte has grown used to the tiny jab that draws a small drop of blood and then measures blood glucose levels. She’ll check her own levels an average of six times through the day, before driving and eating and sometimes “just because.”
“I check whenever I feel [my glucose levels are] low or high,” explains Charlotte, a recent East View High graduate, who along with Isabelle has Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes. An older sister, Abby, does not have the rare autoimmune condition. “Growing up with diabetes has been very challenging at times, but I have not let it hold me back,” Charlotte says. “I can do anything; it just takes a little bit more effort and carbohydrate counting.” Mom Jennifer and step-dad Fritz Klabunde take on the challenge, too. “My sister and I are very lucky to have such supportive parents. They do so much for us.”
Charlotte’s experience growing up with Type 1 diabetes inspired her to participate in an essay scholarship competition sponsored by the Georgetown Noon Lions Club. For the competition, she submitted a thousand-word essay titled “Controlling Your Diabetes for Life” that dealt with the prevention and treatment of Type 2 diabetes, or hyperglycemia, which accounts for 95 percent of diabetes cases. Out of eleven scholarship candidates, Charlotte won first place at the state level and earned a scholarship that will go toward her undergraduate studies at the University of Texas, Austin this fall.
“I feel lucky to have been able to receive a scholarship to help pay my tuition while doing something I am so passionate about,” explains Charlotte, who also devotes time to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) in addition to extracurricular activities like dance and baseball. “Diabetes is a very common disease, but the misconceptions that so many people have are shocking. There is so much that people do not know. I think that it is important for people to know about the prevention of Type 2 so that they will try and live a healthier life. I think people should also be informed about the treatment of Type 1 and Type 2 so that they can help any person in their life with diabetes.”
In the future, Charlotte plans to complete graduate work in medicine, specializing in pediatrics and endocrinology. “I have wanted to be a pediatric endocrinologist for as long as I can remember,” she says. “My doctors have always been such a great resource for me, but I know people that are not so lucky and fear going to their endocrinologists. I want to . . . help children that are struggling with the same thing I have. I think I have a unique perspective and could really help comfort a lot of families.”
For more information on diabetes, go to www.diabetes.org. For information about the Georgetown Noon Lions Club, contact Paul Steinfort, PR and Membership Chair, at 808-346-7980 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and Annette Voelter, President, at 512-819-0067 or email@example.com.
Recently, one of Charlotte’s friends passed away from diabetes complications. Charlotte is helping to establish a scholarship fund for young people with diabetes to attend Camp Sweeney, nonprofit summer camp devoted to children and youth with juvenile diabetes. For more information about the scholarship and how to donate, visit the gofundme Camp Sweeney scholarship page.