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Famous Knoxville quintuplets celebrate their 18th birthdays

They were the first surviving quintuplets to ever be born in Tennessee.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Around 18 years ago, quintuplets were born in Knoxville. Now, they are graduating from high school and are bound for college.

The van Tol quintuplets said they were enjoying their special day on Friday. What appeared as just another hectic afternoon at school for the “van clan,” is actually quite the milestone.

They were the first surviving quintuplets to ever be born in Tennessee. Willem, Sean, Isabella, Ashley, and Meghan van Tol are seniors at Farragut High School.

Shannon van Tol gave birth to her Quintuplets on January 14, 2004, at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. Now, she is recounting the memories leading up to that day.

"I'm on that ultrasound table and the ultrasound tech, I can hear her today, just like I heard her then. She said, 'Stay calm ma'am. You have several, count them with me," she said.

At that moment, Shannon said, she knew her life was about to change.

"You're overwhelmed. You're thinking, 'Where are they all going to go? How is this going to work?'" she said. "It's not always pretty and sometimes it's messy, the way families are. But it’s just really been a treat for me."

The van Tol kids told the tale - from birth to prom, sports to holidays and everything in between.

The haze of sleepless nights, constant feedings and diaper changes have certainly changed, said Shannon.

"As they grow and you see the people that they're becoming," she said. "It's really exciting as a parent.”

Now, as the quintuplets prepare to leave the nest and go to college, they know their bond will hold strong.

"Even if we're apart, we're never going to be really apart. We're always like one phone call away," Meghan said.

“I've loved every stage up to this point and I'm sure I am going to enjoy whatever comes next," Shannon said.

We've been keeping up with the van Tol's for 18 years now and we're excited to see what's in store for in the future. We wish them all a very happy birthday!

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