ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Respect, responsibility, and resilience is the motto of Freedom High School in Albuquerque. No one lives up to that, especially the resiliency part, better than Kristian Medina who throughout his battle with cancer, was able to graduate on Wednesday.
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Kristian Medina is the first 2022 graduate of Freedom High School. He was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia when he was seven-year-old, underwent chemo and radiation for three years, and then had a bone marrow transplant. After that, he was in remission for 10 years until 2019, when he had a seizure and was taken to UNM Hospital where they found a brain tumor.
During treatment, doctors say the teen never gave up hope of being able to finish school. “Every time he came to the clinic he would take his cell phone and say ‘Dr. Boayue, I have only five more credits to graduate,'” said Dr. Koh Boayue.
Medina lost his ability to speak. Doctors believe because of the chemo and radiation, his right side is weak and he has a difficult time remembering words. On Wednesday, standing in front of family friends and APS staff, Medina was finally able to move that tassel, his mother and father helping him put on his cap and gown, a momentous occasion for him and his family. “It’s a very special moment because regardless of what’s happened to him, he’s been resilient. He’s been going forward he has not given up and he has really pushed them to keep on going as well.”
His doctor spoke on Medina’s selflessness, even as a young child requesting his Make-A-Wish. “His wish was to give to his siblings whatever they wanted and Make-A-Wish honored that this is the kind of kid we’re talking about,” said Dr. Boayue.
It was an emotional and special day for an Albuquerque teen who has proven he can persevere. “Kristian, you have completed your high school education and are ready for the world.”
Kristian’s family says he got to choose where they were going to dinner and they’ll celebrate on Saturday with a big feast. He says he also wants to take his truck out and do some burnouts to celebrate.