Kat Harrison

Patient Leader

Kat began her career interning for magazines like Glamour, Good Housekeeping and Time Out New York Kids. Her writing has since appeared in lifestyle publications like Real Simple and New York Family, and digital outlets such as Yahoo and MSN. She frequently contributes to The Mighty, an online health community that also named her one of 2018's top chronic illness advocates. Her debut picture book called SURGERY ON SUNDAY will be published in 2020 (Warren Publishing). At the age of 15, Kat contracted a bacterial infection in her ear and skull. For eight weeks, she administered antibiotics through an at-home IV (which she styled with the likes of a tie-dye soccer sock). While she successfully battled the infection, the high dosage of antibiotics wiped away her balance system, leaving behind a neurological disorder called oscillopsia, which she challenges you to say five times fast. Kat now swerves through life as a permanent "wobbler". She's also recovered from 14 surgeries and lives with chronic, daily migraine. In a plot twist, she was recently diagnosed with a rare headache condition called SUNCT Syndrome. Kat's advocacy efforts began as a self-motivated mission to feel heard in her own life.​ But it has slowly transformed into a vulnerable venture where she exposes​ her darkness so that others can find the brightness in their own health journeys. While it's OK to not to be OK, it's also important to know you're not alone in what you go through. That, in its most simplistic form, is what drives her advocacy.

Location

Milford, MI

Nominations

Best in Show: Community Rookie of the Year

I am new to the advocacy scene but believe I've already been able to make an impact through my work. I wrote a feature story for Real Simple magazine on chronic migraine, was nominated a top chronic illness advocate in 2018 by The Mighty, and was in the American Migraine Foundation's Giving Tuesday campaign in 2018. I'd love to expand my voice.  — Kat

Kat Harrison is passionate about spreading the message that being chronically ill is a part of you, but does not define you. Kat uses wisdom, insight, and splashes of humor to inspire and encourage others who experience chronic illness.New on the health blogging scene, Kat has already made a significant difference in the lives of many!  — Suzanne

While Kat is not new to the health space, she has more recently dove headfirst into advocacy by not only sharing her story, but by holding space for and guiding others - for those living with a health condition to feel heard + less alone & those living without a health condition to better understand what it's like + how to support others.  — Haley

If you've ever looked at the content on Kat's Mighty profile, you'll know why she deserves this award. Although she creates community across social media channels, this post on The Mighty inspired a program called "CheckInWithMe" that now allows millions to support each other: https://themighty.com/u/xokat/content/5b57277a0a1d9e00aeed8f7a  — Haley

Kat has an excellent foundation of knowledge to share with others, inspire, educate, and build on. She is passionate about spreading the word to help others learn more.  — Julie

Kat Harrison

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