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Heath High students rallying to aid student in coma at Children’s Hospital

By Andrea Nevarez (Heath High journalism student) & J.J. Smith. Students at Rockwall-Heath High School are rallying to aid one of their own junior class members who has been in a coma since Sept. 5 at Dallas Children’s Hospital.

According to Heath High 9th Grade AP Secretary Kerri Embrey, students and teachers have thus far donated and raised nearly $850 during lunches for Maryela Palacios, 16, the daughter of Heath residents Pedro and Maria Palacios. An A student in several AP classes, she is a member of the Spanish National Honor Society, PALS and AVID.

The Leaders of Life class and Friends of Rachel Club started the fund-raising efforts by arranging to have announcements made about Maryela’s condition over the school’s loud speaker system.

Dozens of students have also responded by making and sending ‘Get Well’ cards, which Heath High Community Liason Adriana Gutierrez has made multiple trips to deliver.

One Heath High mother, after learning about Maryela’s condition, made her a homecoming mum and presented it to her and her parents as a gift at the hospital.

“Her family is very thankful for the Rockwall-Heath High School staff and everyone else who has helped them during this time,” said Gutierrez.  “They ask to continue having Maryela and them in your prayers.”

“I am convinced that Maryela’s tragic situation has brought out the best in us as a school and a community,” Gutierrez added.

“For the community to put aside their activities to go comfort a young girl and her family is a wonderful thing. It is inspiring to see our community coming together and take action in the manner to show ‘We care’. I am sure Maryela, will be more than happy when she returns to school to find how many of her peers have had her in their thoughts and prayers.”

According to her parents, Maryela complained of a headache the morning of Sept. 5 and by evening was in a coma. Doctors do not yet know why.

According to Gutierrez, Maryela’s family needs money, gift cards and non-perishable food items because the parents are both unemployed and cannot work since they are at the hospital.

In addition, her mother is battling cancer. She recently had to travel to Mexico for a cancer treatment of her own.

Maryela also has two brothers who attend Cain Middle School.

Donations can be given to Kerri Embrey in Heath High Room 3403, by emailing her at embrey@rockwallisd.org or by calling her at 972-772-2474.

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