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Boston Shriners Hospital Patient Inspired to Pursue a Medical Degree

Spending your childhood years in and out of the hospital can be difficult, to say the least. Many kids miss out on experiences at home with family and friends. This is especially true for patients who have to travel abroad for care. At Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston, care teams work hard to make sure all of our patients feel like kids by giving them normal experiences, no matter how far away they may be from home. More importantly, we offer them hope that they’ll grow up to live meaningful and fulfilling lives.

We love keeping in touch with our patients to find out what they go on to do in life. It is particularly special when we learn that a patient was inspired by their care to pursue a career in medicine.

Guadalupe, “Kika,” was raised in Mexico and suffered a severe burn injury as a baby. Frustrated by the quality of care and treatment options in Mexico, Kika’s parents began searching for options outside their country. At hospital after hospital, the family was told there was nothing more that could be done to help Kika, until her father saw a commercial for Shriners Hospitals for Children. That set off a chain of events that forever changed the course of Kika’s life.

Kika made her first trip to Boston for care when she was 6 years old and returned for care over the next 20 years. The course of her treatment included more than 20 rounds of plastic surgery to her face and nose to undo the negative effects of earlier procedures, correct breathing problems and reduce scarring. Looking back on her Shriners Hospitals experience, Kika cannot say enough about the quality of care.

“The care I received at the Boston Shriners Hospital was nothing but the best that any human being can ask for,” she said. “The detail, their care, their love, their hospitality – and the most important thing is they managed my pain. Not once did I ever feel pain or discomfort under such terrible circumstances. The attention they provided to my family was great.”

Now 28, Kika is only a few months away from being board certified as a medical doctor. She has completed her schooling and has interned at a public hospital in Mexico. Her dream is to become an emergency department doctor, saying, “During those crisis situations, I can help people. It is never routine, you never see the same thing twice, which is exciting.”

She attributes her experience at the Boston Shriners Hospital as one of the most significant factors behind her decision to become a doctor.

“My whole life I have been in and out of the hospital. Ever since I was little, I always wondered how the doctors managed to know so much and help so many children. So I decided that my dream was to be like them, maybe not as a surgeon, but knowing I can help others by making them feel better or safe like I felt.”

There are so many caregivers at the Boston Shriners Hospital who had a significant impact on Kika. “My experience with all the doctors, nurses, therapists and all the staff became my elevator and lifted me to where I am today. The impression they made inspired me to choose the path of becoming a doctor. With every patient that I meet I will always remember Shriners. I am especially grateful to Dr. Matthias Donelan, who is and will always be my rock star,” she said. “He was my inspiration and I would love to be as wonderful as he is some day.

Matthias B. Donelan, M.D., is proud of how far his patient has come over the years, saying, “It is gratifying that her experience was so positive that she thinks favorably about the field that cared for her. It’s wonderful to see young patients who want to improve the lives of others by following in the same path. Guadeloupe is certainly a remarkable young woman. She has always been determined and grateful, a wonderful combination. It has been my great pleasure to take care of her for such a long time, and to see her achieve her goal of becoming a doctor. None of this could have been accomplished without the staff and support of our wonderful hospital here in Boston and the Shriners philanthropy.”

Although Kika can’t pick just one memory from her time at the Boston Shriners Hospital as her fondest, she keeps all the staff members very close to her heart. “I can honestly say that I consider the hospital like my second home and the staff to be my second family,” she shared.

At Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston, we are proud of all our patients who overcome incredible odds to become great people working in their communities. Kika’s journey is truly inspiring and her drive to follow her passion despite hardships is admirable. We wish her all the best and know that her future patients will be in good hands.

Guadalupe with Dr. Donelan

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