Hendersonville girl battles diabetes with karate, heads to national championship

Courtney Hollins (Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Months of training and it comes down to this: A Hendersonville 10-year-old is packing up and heading out to South Carolina for a chance at gold at the 2017 USA Karate National Championships.

Courtney Hollins has Type 1 diabetes, but what started as a way to offset symptoms has since turned into a medal and newfound passion.

With only a few months of karate under her orange belt, Courtney’s eyes are on bigger prizes.

“I always say don’t hold your fear in,” she explained. “Let it all out.”

Courtney Hollins (Photo: WKRN)

Two years ago, though, fear filled the Hollins’ home with a diagnosis on Halloween.

“They diagnosed me with Type 1 diabetes,” said Courtney. “I was like, what is that?”

“Me personally, I was crushed, it took me a while to adjust to it,” said Clarence Hollins, Courtney’s dad. “But her grit and determination is what pulled me through.”

“My background is in healthcare, so I knew it was vital for her to have a lifestyle that would be able to compliment this diagnosis,” added Bernice Hollins, Courtney’s mother.

Bernice and Clarence Hollins (Photo: WKRN)

After turning down ballet and dance, Courtney turned to a dojo, a martial arts classroom, just down the road from her house.

The daily workouts are keeping blood sugar issues at bay.

“The exercising makes my numbers perfect after karate,” said Courtney. “Makes me feel great.”

Against all odds, Courtney’s now bound for a national competition in Greenville, South Carolina. It comes after a trip to a regional competition netted an unlikely bronze medal.

“I was like, ‘Yes, I won a medal,’” exclaimed Courtney. “Cause that was the first medal I’ve ever won in my life.”

Days away from the biggest competition in her short karate career, her biggest battle remains within.

She’s now managing her disease and chasing a dream she didn’t know she had.

“There is no failure for her,” said her father. “That’s how she’s been able to overcome and beat this diabetes, is her grit.”

The nationals in Greenville run from Wednesday through Sunday. Courtney will compete as a beginner in the 10-year-old division.