Hermosillo overcomes health issues to achieve academic success

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Clarissa Hermosillo is one of the many recipients of over $130,000 in scholarship monies awarded by the Ronald McDonald House Charities.  Hermosillo received $2,000 which she will use along with the more than $10,000 she received from other scholarship organizations to pursue a degree in Psychology with the University of Las Vegas which will begin this fall.

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Clarissa Hermosillo is one of the many recipients of the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Hermosillo graduated Virgin Valley High School in June of this year and ironically works at the McDonalds at 190 East Pioneer Blvd. Working at McDonalds is a happy coincidence and has nothing to do with the requirements of the scholarship. Hermosillo (center front) poses with her crew members and managers: (Not in Order) Chandler Cunningham, Anthony Salazar, and Yolanda Rodriguez and Jaylee Jensen. Photo by Teri Nehrenz.

One of many requirements for obtaining the RMHC Scholarship is that the applicant has to have overcome a serious medical condition and succeeded in spite of it.  Hermosillo’s particular affliction, Coronary Artery Disease, has been with her since birth.

According to the Ronald McDonald house website, “To apply for an RMHC scholarship, a student must: Be a high school senior, be younger than 21 years old, be eligible to attend a two- or four-year college or university with a full course of study, be a legal U.S. resident, live in a participating RMHC Chapter’s geographic area, submit a complete application and all required documentation by the deadline on the application, meet any additional eligibility requirements outlined by each scholarship program, supply verification of enrollment each year at the student’s accredited post-secondary institution and you must have overcome a serious medical condition/obstacle.”

As a baby, Hermosillo’s doctors diagnosed her with narrowing arteries which caused pressure in her heart to build to dangerous levels.  She’s had a stint initially placed in her artery as a baby and has had the stint replaced twice since, the latter of the replacements occurring only one week after her high school graduation nearly two months ago.  The stint, theoretically, opens the arteries to allow better blood flow which should reduce the pressure in the heart.  Hermosillo is then placed on a regimen of medication so the blood doesn’t clog the stint; in Hermosillo’s case the medication is as simple as a daily aspirin.

Hermosillo, ironically, works at McDonalds but her working with the company has nothing to do with the requirements of the scholarship.  Hermosillo says she likes her job very much and enjoys the crew members and managers she works with but it was through hard work in the community and through her studies that she became eligible for this financial award.

Work is a very large part of the requirements of the RMHC Scholarship awards but the work has to be community service 50 hours per quarter which Hermosillo was glad to accomplish by working with the Salvation Army as a bell ringer and organizer for an aluminum can drive, helping out with fundraisers at the elementary school and doing various other service projects around the community.

Hermosillo’s parents, both of who work at the Eureka, are faced with astronomical medical bills and over the years, to ensure they had the ability to provide treatment for her daughter, have worked with a Nevada based program called “Nevada Check-up”.

According to the State of Nevada, Department of Health and Human Services, “The Mission of the Nevada Check Up program is to provide low-cost, comprehensive health care coverage to low income, uninsured children (birth through 18) who are not covered by private insurance or Medicaid; while (1) promoting health care coverage for children; (2) encouraging individual responsibility; and (3) working with public and private health care providers and community advocates for children.

The only cost to the Nevada Check Up enrollee is a quarterly premium.  Enrollees are not required to pay co-payments, deductibles, or other charges for covered services. Premiums are determined by family size and income.  Quarterly premiums range between $25 and $80 dollars and are charged per family, not per child. For Native American Families who are members of federally recognized tribes, or an Eskimo, Aleut or other Alaska Native enrolled by the Secretary of the Interior, quarterly premiums are waived.” For more information on the “Nevada Check-Up Program” you can visit their web site: www.nevadacheckup.nv.gov .

Despite the life time disease and the recurring consequences of it Hermosillo hasn’t let that affect her life and continued activities as if there were no issues with her health.  Lettering in sports in her high school years she ran sprints in track and played flag football.  Hermosillo says the only thing difference with her and sports as opposed to her peers is that she has to have her Cardiologist sign off for her to play which is something that doesn’t happen to the other kids.

She graduated with a 3.42 GPA even with a full schedule of mostly honors classes, all except math.  Hermosillo admits she’s not really great at mathematician and wasn’t able to complete honors math requirement which is the only thing that stopped her from receiving the honors diploma.

The continued medical visits, tests and surgeries hasn’t slowed her roll one bit except when she’s recovering from her surgeries, but even now, she’s back to work full time after having a stint replaced less than two months ago, working hard to save money for college and she’s fully prepared to begin her journey into higher education right away this fall so she can, in a few more years, begin her career helping others.

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