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State Honoree

Kathleen McGlynn


Kathleen McGlynn, 18, of Belleville, Ill., a senior at Althoff Catholic High School and a member of the YMCA of Southwest Illinois, created more than 100 recipes for children with common stomach disorders, and compiled many of them in a cookbook titled "Yummies for Sensitive Tummies." She also designed a Web site to educate children with sensitive stomachs about healthy food and lifestyle choices. Because she suffers from her own pain caused by a back deformity, Kathleen was especially sympathetic when her younger sister was diagnosed with esophageal reflux, irritable bowel syndrome and lactose intolerance. "I knew how it felt to be in pain," she said. "Watching my little sister suffer made me want to do something."

Kathleen began to experiment with different foods to see how her sister would tolerate them, then researched her ailments, interviewed dieticians and medical professionals, compiled lists of non-irritating foods, and recruited volunteer "taste-testers" as she developed her recipes. When her cookbook was finished, Kathleen distributed free copies to children's hospitals in the U.S. and Canada, and through, a Web site that she and her sister built last year. "I take great pleasure knowing that the recipes I have created may help lessen the suffering of even one child," Kathleen said.