Community rallies to help Lake Arthur teen with rare kidney disease

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Lake Arthur Municipal Schools Principal Kathleen Gallaway has only one phrase to describe her community.

“We’re family,” Gallaway said.

Now, that community has come together to help one of their own.

Arriah Porter has been battling a rare kidney disease since last October. Jennifer Porter, her mom, said it’s very rare in children.

“It’s called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, so what it basically is is the glomeruli that come into the kidneys, they basically have cirrhosis. They have lesions that start getting on them, and they bleed, and then heal, and bleed, and then heal," she said.

Arriah’s been traveling between Lake Arthur and Albuquerque for treatments. The high school freshman is in need of a kidney transplant, something doctors didn’t expect would happen for a couple more years.

“Kidneys were saying they’re a little more sensitive than we originally thought, and she got a little sicker about three weeks ago in which that time we were informed it was time to start dialysis, get her a little healthier with her levels so we can move on transplant after this," Jennifer said.

When the school heard about Arriah’s situation, it was a no-brainer for them to start raising money for the surgery.

Superintendent Elisa Begueria said they planned on something small.

“We needed to do something to support them, the money, right, the economic situation, so we decided that, you know, who doesn’t like chocolate, so we went with that," she said.

Everyone was on board—even the youngest students.

Kathleen Gallaway, principal of Lake Arthur Municipal Schools, said the reaction from students was great.

“To see them so excited to help a fellow student was just incredible,” she said.

Local business also stepped up and donated.

They said they’ve already passed their goal of $5,000 in just 24 hours, and that donations have been coming in from all over the state, including an anonymous donation of $1,000 left at the school on Tuesday morning.

For Arriah and her family, the support is what makes this community a special place.

“Just that everyone matters in this world, and even if you’re from a smaller school or the biggest school— everyone matters the same," she said.

“It’s amazing to see that everyone cares as much as they do. I’m not very surprised. It’s always been a family thing, especially here,” said Jacoby Porter, her older brother.

If you’d like to donate, you can contact the Lake Arthur Municipal Schools at 575-365-2000.