Announcing Dr. Tomisaku Kawasaki Memorial Scholarship Recipient: Julia Fitzgerald

Dr. Tomisaku Kawasaki Memorial Scholarship Recipient: Julia Fitzgerald

Scholarship Recipient: Julia Fitzgerald

Scholarship Year: Fall 2024-Spring 2025

Scholarship Type: Student currently enrolled in a university

University Name: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Scholarship Amount: $10,000

Julia Fitzgerald was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease (KD) in 2006 at the age of two. It took a few days for the doctor to make a correct diagnosis, but an echocardiogram confirmed KD after displaying several telltale symptoms. After receiving IVIG treatment, Julia’s symptoms subsided, and she was discharged from the hospital with no long-term consequences.

Over the years, Julia and her family stayed involved with the KD community by attending awareness events and the annual symposium online to stay informed about the latest KD research developments. Recently, Julia joined KDF Youth to help host fundraising and awareness campaigns.

Julia is currently a freshman at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, pursuing a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology and a minor in Child Health and Well-Being. She plans to continue on to medical school to become a pediatrician after completing her undergraduate studies. During her junior year, she intends to enroll as a research assistant in a clinical research study setting to gain hands-on experience with participants in studies working with diseases. She is also currently involved in Positive Pre-Meds, which works with Pre-Med students to learn about mental illnesses that affect them.

Julia volunteers at Carle Foundation Hospital’s Labor and Delivery Unit and Obstetric Services Unit, stocking patient rooms with supplies, bringing patients food and drinks, making charts and welcome packets for newly admitted patients, and helping nurses with additional tasks as needed. Her volunteer experience has helped her understand how unpredictable health care can be and how unique each patient’s story can be.

Julia is grateful to researchers like Dr. Tomisaku Kawasaki and practitioners in the medical field because, thanks to their contributions, her story and many other KD patients have positive outcomes. However, she understands that not all patients are as fortunate to have positive outcomes, and she hopes to contribute to helping children and families in the future through her medical degree.

Julia is thrilled to be one of the first recipients to receive the Dr. Tomisaku Kawasaki Memorial Scholarship, which will total $10,000 and greatly help her with paying for her education. She looks forward to continuing to represent the KD community and bring more awareness to KD.