Kate Gilfillan (Illinois)

School: Ohio State University 

Major: Accounting

Hometown: Naperville, IL

Hi my name is Kate Gilfillan and I am from Naperville Illinois. I will enter The Ohio State University in fall of 2021 as a freshman studying Accounting. I currently in a gap year due to the several health complications I have endured.

I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis going into my senior year of high school in 2019. I quickly moved through medicine after medicine experiencing multiple failures. During my senior season, I had to step down as captain from my varsity basketball team due to how ill I was. In March 2020, I was admitted into the hospital for a severe flare. After exhausting all other medicine options, I had my colon removed in May 2020. I spent the summer feeling amazing with an ostomy bag. However, with issues with the small remnant of my colon, I headed to several specialists to determine I had diverging colitis.  In December 2020, I had my second of my three-part surgery to form my jpouch. The surgery went well, however, 5 days later I developed a scar-tissue band in my pelvis causing a severe bowel obstruction. I had a NG-tube placed and was given several medicines in hope to clear it, but fell gravely ill. I was rushed into emergency surgery to clear the obstruction. I spent almost all of December in the hospital experiencing output issues with my ostomy. I ended up pushing up my third surgery to resolve that. My takedown surgery took place on January 29th 2021. The surgery went well, however, I developed chronic pouchitis and currently working through treating that.

I got involved in Take Steps in fall 2020. I was able to raise several thousands dollars within 24 hours of starting my campaign. I am happy to say that I am the Chicagoland 2021 Honored Hero for Take Steps this year. Involving myself in the NCCL has honestly changed my life. Working with other’s with similar experiences towards making life with IBD more manageable is something so rewarding. IBD is a beast in its own nature but people to support you along the way makes the biggest difference. Together, we can fight IBD and work towards a cure!