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Managing Life

Local teen lives with autoimmune disease

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Rilee McKibben

Iowa Falls-Alden junior Rilee McKibben (third from left) spends time with friends (L-R) Kate Hutchinson, Jaden Bartlett and Hannah Elerding. The teen was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis - an autoimmune disease - at the age of 10.

Tears streamed down Tara McKibben’s face as she watched the Iowa Falls-Alden Dance Team compete at the Iowa State Dance & Drill Team Association Championships last month.

The tears came because Tara knew how hard her daughter Rilee — a junior on the team — worked to be able to perform. Weeks earlier, Rilee spent several days at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital while doctors tried to determine the cause of symptoms related to ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune disease she was diagnosed with at age 10.

Rilee McKibben

A member of the Iowa Falls-Alden Dance Team, Rilee McKibben was determined to recover from mono in time to perform at the Iowa State Dance & Drill Team Association Championships. Weeks earlier, McKibben spent time at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital, where physicians administered several tests.

Rilee McKibben

Tara, Rilee (sitting) and Kent McKibben look out the window of the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital last fall. Rilee was forced to stay in the hospital after she was diagnosed with mono. She lives with an autoimmune disease - ulcerative colitis.The disease is distinguished by inflammation of the large intestine, and ulcers may form along the lining of the intestine.

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