Gilbert’s Disease


Cian Blair

Megan White, Staff Reporter

Teens face many struggles when growing; schooling, tests, or drama. One thing that many teens are lucky enough not to deal with is a chronic illness. On average, when people think of an illness they will think of a cold, flu, or maybe strep throat; all temporary illnesses. What if the the illness wasn’t temporary? What if you struggled with it throughout your entire life?

Gilbert’s disease is a genetic mutation, causing your liver to not function properly. This causes low red and white blood cell count, thin and brittle nails, and yellowing in the skin, eyes, and nail beds.

Cian Blair is a teen attending Clackamas High School suffering from Gilbert’s disease. He was diagnosed at the age of ten years old, when he had his first stroke and seizure. He describes this experience as, “the feeling of numbing and electrifying…”.

His health issues started at birth. His umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, “…basically I came out suffocating and was blue and yellow…”. He was in the hospital afterwards for about three months.

“Gilbert’s disease will affect me for the rest of my life, but I still have a relatively normal life.” He adds when he gets even just a common cold, it results in him becoming very ill and even coughing up blood.

Though the disease can be scary and even life-threatening if untreated, Cian continues to live his normal teenage life. “I just recently set up my appointment for my driver’s license.” He is very excited about his future and dreams of becoming a pediatrician. He exclaims, “I love children!”

He hopes his story can help inspire and encourage teens suffering from health issues of their own. Although he struggles everyday taking medications and being cautious to not get sick, he stays strong with the support of friends and family. “Without my friends and family’s support I probably wouldn’t be where I am with my health today.”