Hometown Hero: Newton Falls teen juggles high school, juvenile diabetes

This week's Hometown Hero has excelled in academics and sports, all while having to wear a diabetes pump

This week's Hometown Hero has excelled in academics and sports, all while having to wear a diabetes pump.

NEWTON FALLS, Ohio (WYTV) – Eighteen-year-old Tristan Hankins, of Newton Falls, recently graduated from Windham High School and is looking forward to starting Youngstown State University this fall. Every day has been a challenge for Tristan, however.

He has had to deal with type one juvenile diabetes since he was 18 months old. His parents, grandparents and later Tristan himself had to monitor his blood sugar every day.

“I was angry at first and didn’t really know what I was getting into,” said Dougle Hankins, Tristan’s father.

Despite wearing a diabetes pump on his body, Tristan has excelled in high school sports and earned four scholarships and several honors, making him this week’s Hometown Hero.

Dougle Hankins said he could not be more proud of his son for overcoming all obstacles.

“We had to go back to school to learn how to take care of him. It got easier as he got older,” he said.

Tristan has received four scholarships for his academic performance, he was in the National Honor Society, chosen as class valedictorian and received a special athletic recognition as well. He played three years of football, three years of track, all while wearing the diabetes pump.

Tristan said, despite constant monitoring, he tries to live a normal life.

“I’m basically a normal kid. I just have to, you know, take care of myself extra careful,” he said.

Inspired by his teacher, Amanda Brundage, Tristan is now on his way to YSU to study science, technology, engineering and math.

“As a student, Tristan is self-motivated. He’s creative, and he’s not afraid to try something new,” Brundage said. “For him, the future is wide open. He’s a smart kid. I think he can do whatever he sets his mind to.”

Tristan said he would tell anyone in his situation to take care of themselves, but never let diabetes hold them back.

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