We first met Hannah Blankenship and heard her story in June 2020. She was diagnosed with Cushing syndrome, which s caused by a tumor on her pituitary gland and creates many complications. Right before the season started, she was cleared to play, even though the tumor was not removed.

Above from https://www.wvnstv.com/sports/wyoming-east-warrior-with-cushing-syndrome-beats-all-odds-returns-to-court-in-state-tournament/

Below is adapted from a news item at https://www.wvnstv.com/news/wyoming-east-student-shares-her-life-changing-experience-and-fight-with-cushing-syndrome/

Hannah Blankenship is a rising junior at Wyoming East High School, and in the last two years her life changed dramatically. She was just a 16-year-old girl enjoying homecoming, sports, and friends until her world turned upside down. 

“I started to have unbearable pains in my shins. At first we just thought it was shin splits, but it didn’t take long to figure out it was something more,” Hannah said.

Hannah was a stud on the basketball court and also enjoyed running cross country, but that quickly came to a halt. 

“I would be playing, and my feet would just fall asleep and my legs would lock up,” Hannah said. “I couldn’t feel anything, I couldn’t move. I just had to stand there. I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t do anything.”

After countless doctors appointments and misdiagnoses, Hannah was diagnosed with Cushing syndrome. She has a tumor on her pituitary glad [sic] which causes it to release too much cortisol into her body, affecting her metabolism and growth hormones. It also affects her energy levels and her ability to recover from workouts. 

“Labs are normal, this is normal and I knew this was not normal. I had never felt so helpless,” Jamie Blankenship, Hannah’s mother said. “Once we found out and got that diagnoses and started reading and concentrating on the symptoms, we realized that was definitely what was going on she has every symptom.”

Hannah is not alone in this journey, she has a family who is her backbone, friends, and a community that supports her every day.

“It is really hard to understand why. I just think there are some things in life we will never have an explanation to, but just being around my friends and teammates helps a lot, and I have a great support system that picks me up when I am down,” Hannah said.

There are days that it is hard for her mother to stay strong, but she is so thankful that Hannah has so many that are there for her. She hopes by sharing their journey she will help someone else.

“She has so many in her corner and she stays positive, and knows she is going to come back. I am thankful. I hate that this has happened to her, but I am thankful we have a diagnoses and I hope we can help someone else,” Hannah said.

At the end of the day, it is Hannah’s faith that is getting her through this unbearable journey.

“She has always been up beat and positive, she has all the faith in the world in God and I think that is what has brought her this far,” Jamie said.