High school senior raises money for New Mexico hospital

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Micaela Gallegos is a senior at Volcano Vista High School.

On top of being a cheerleader, "I’m in National Honor Society English Honor Society. Spanish Honor Society, math Honor Society," Gallegos listed off.

But years ago, when she was just eight, what Gallegos thought was a stomach ache changed everything.

"My mom jokes about this all the time, but I told her I was pregnant when I was eight because my stomach hurts so bad," remembered Gallegos. "So I was just in pain, and I was crying."

The pain came from her kidney.

"They said that my right one was almost dead, and then I got diagnosed with chronic kidney disease," described Gallegos.

"They didn’t know if I was gonna be able to play sports or be as active as I am now." She had to get surgery and spent weeks at UNM’s Carrie Tingley Hospital.

"I missed a lot of second grade. I remember being embarrassed to get my kidney removed because none of my friends had been in the hospital before," said Gallegos.

But she also remembers how kind her doctor was, and how great the Carrie Tingley medical team treated her and her family.

"I still remember till this day, the doll that they gave me and they let me decorate it," remembered Gallegos. "I was able to put the IV in their arm and they let me pretend like I was gonna give the doll anesthesia."

That life changing experience led to everything Gallegos does now.

"As my mom words it, I got very, very lucky," said Gallegos. "I want to make an impact, and I want to give it my all so one day I am able to give back to my community and be a pediatrician."

This year, Gallegos went to Costa Rica to volunteer for a month. Just last week, she applied to UNM’s BA/MD program.

"You pretty much have an automatic seat in medical school," said Gallegos. "We have a physician shortage in New Mexico, especially in the rural parts of New Mexico. So that’s why I want to be in the BA/MD program. I want to help New Mexico specifically."

But she’s not waiting to make difference.

On Tuesday, Nov. 9, Gallegos is hosting a movie night at Century Rio to raise money for Carrie Tingley Hospital.

"I feel like Carrie Tingley Children’s Hospital has made me want to become a doctor," said Gallegos. "Getting my kidney removed was a huge impact in my life." No matter what happens next, "I want to leave this world knowing that I made a difference."

You can catch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off at Century Rio on Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. Gallegos has already raised a thousand dollars.

You can donate or buy tickets here.