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Colitis diagnosis won’t keep basketball player off the court

Kylea Galipeau-Wilson, a point guard on the women’s basketball team at Loyalist College, was diagnosed with colitis at 14 years old. Photo courtesy of Loyalist Lancer Athletics

By Deanna Fraser [1]

BELLEVILLE – You may see Loyalist Lancer point guard Kylea Galipeau-Wilson giving it her all on the basketball court, but what you might not know is that she was diagnosed with colitis at the age of 14, and within less than a year had undergone seven different surgeries in hopes to fix her colon.

The Kanata native says that after seeing blood in her stool and vomit back in 2014, she needed to see a doctor. Her family doctor, Lise Beaubien, referred her to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

Colitis is a disease that inflames the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. It disrupts the body’s ability to digest food, absorb nutrition and eliminate waste in a healthy manner.

“So basically when I eat something, it goes right through me,” said Galipeau-Wilson.

She admitted that she hasn’t always been comfortable talking about the disease because of the symptoms that come with it.

“It’s not cute. It’s a throwing up and pooping disease,” said Galipeau-Wilson.

The pre-health student explained that some of the other side effects she’s experienced are: severe pains in the abdominal area, a burning feeling, lack of energy and weight loss.

Other symptoms of colitis include dehydration, fever, chills, joint swelling and skin inflammation.

“Colitis is not a very well-known disease. I didn’t even know it existed until I got diagnosed. It’s something that’s embarrassing. It’s hard to try and explain to people why you’re not feeling well, they don’t understand.”

Galipeau-Wilson said that although it’s been tough living with colitis, she hasn’t gone through it alone.

“I have a great support system with my family, my friends, and all the doctors,” she said.

She explained that it’s hard dealing with her colitis and playing on the basketball team because it can make the inflammation worse.

“It’s definitely harder. I also need to really be careful of what I eat. It’s easy for me to feel numb or pass out. But I tell my coaches and they’re pretty tolerant,” said Galipeau-Wilson.

Earlier this month it was announced that the 5’7 guard is tied for fourth in OCAA Women’s Basketball assists and is ninth in offensive rebounds.

She currently leads her team in total rebounds, assists, steals and free throws.

The first-year pre-health student explained that she was in and out of the hospital for three years. And although it was hard being in the hospital for so long it did teach her valuable life lessons.

“It taught me to really appreciate the little things. I was on bed rest, and I couldn’t shower on my own, and I always needed help from the nurse. It just made me realize all the things we take for granted like sleeping in your own bed, being able to shower every day, being able to hang out with your friends and go outside,” she said.