The Novo Nordisk Donnelly Awards distributes up to $25,000 in scholarships to student athletes who are in good academic standing, living with diabetes, and play competitive tennis, either in tournaments or on their school team. This year, Daniel Smith of West Lafayette, Ind. and Maddie Maloney of Idaho Falls, Idaho each received the $5,000 national scholarship.
Smith, 19, studies at Indiana Wesleyan University, where he maintains a 3.4 GPA and plays singles and doubles for his college team. Diagnosed with diabetes at age 12, Smith graduated from Crown Point High School in 2012, where he competed in both varsity tennis and swimming. “It is such an honor for me to win this scholarship, as it shows me that it’s been worth all the hard work I have put toward tennis and not giving up on it when I found out that I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes,” says Smith, who was named Academic All-American and All State as a high school senior.
Now playing No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles as a college freshman, Smith was his high school’s number one singles player and MVP during his junior and senior years. On playing as a diabetic, Smith remarked, “Playing tennis with diabetes is definitely no walk in the park. Having either a high or low blood sugar can greatly affect my game. However, I did not let that stop me from playing the game I love.”
Maloney, 16, was diagnosed with diabetes at age 13. Playing high school tennis, she led her team to the 2012 State Championships. Continuing to improve her game, she finished third as a freshman and second as a sophomore singles player. Maloney credits her diagnosis with her on-court focus: “I've learned to better maintain with keeping my emotions under control and watching what I eat…that has definitely helped.” Also a member of her school’s varsity volleyball team, Maloney has had plenty of success on the tennis court, having won the Conference player of the Year Award. An Idaho native, she been ranked in the top 20 of the Intermountain section for the past six years.
“It definitely has been tough, but it's just an obstacle that I've had to learn to better myself to overcome. Being a type 1 diabetic isn't a choice, but managing it correctly is. The control of my disease and lifestyle is 100% in my hands. It's hard, but it's definitely manageable.”
The two national winners got the chance to attend a Mylan World TeamTennis match between the Philadelphia Freedoms and the Washington Kastles on Tuesday night, as well as meet co-founder Billie Jean King.
“I am so excited to meet Billie Jean King! Who wouldn't be? She is such a talented woman and definitely someone to look up to,” says Maloney.
“I was completely shocked when I was told that I won this scholarship and that I get to go and meet Billie Jean King and watch World TeamTennis. I am really looking forward to going and experiencing this level of tennis and meeting a tennis legend,” Smith adds.
Novo Nordisk Donnelly also awarded six one-time $2,500 regional scholarships. The awards are named after two long-time World TeamTennis executives and tennis champions, Diane Donnelly Stone and Tracey Donnelly Maltby, who are sisters. Stone was an All-American and NCAA doubles champion at Northwestern University, and Maltby earned All-Big Ten honors at the University of Iowa. Both women have lived successfully with diabetes since childhood. The scholarship program was established by King, through WTT Charities, in 1998 to encourage children with diabetes to lead an active life and compete in tennis.