Looks Bright: ECW’s Kayley Gallo thrust into caregiver’s role, thriving at school

Published 12:12 am Saturday, January 12, 2019

LAPLACE — Emily C. Watkins eighth grader Kayley Gallo always took an interest in the medical field, but her vision for the future narrowed to pharmacy when a tumultuous health battle impacted her family last year.

In February 2018, Kayley’s family was alarmed when her toddler sister, Charlee, started experiencing body swelling and inflammation.

A trip to the hospital and several tests diagnosed 2-year-old Charlee with nephrotic syndrome, a kidney disorder that causes the body to secrete too much protein through urine.

As her little sister was shuffled to and from the hospital to receive protein treatments, Kayley stayed with her grandmother and helped care for her other siblings.

It was a trying time for her family emotionally and financially as her mother and stepfather had to miss work for hospital visits.

Stepping into a caregiver role felt natural to kindhearted Kayley, who cited babysitting her sisters, brother and cousin as one of her hobbies.

The experience also opened Kayley’s eyes to other ways she can help people in her community.

Kayley Gallo will have a leg up in ninth grade next academic year, as she has already earned high school level certifications in Microsoft Office and PowerPoint.

“I’ve kind of always wanted to go into the medical field, but I never really knew what I wanted to do,” Kayley said. “Then I found out my sister needed medicine that she needed to get from a pharmacist by a certain time or she could relapse. I’ve always liked helping people. As a pharmacist, I would be able to help people and prevent things from happening.”

Little Charlee still sees a doctor each month for blood work, but Kayley said she is doing much better.

Intelligent and responsible, Kayley is just as dedicated to school as she is to her family.

She’s an A/B honor roll student looking to earn all As for the remainder of her eighth grade year.

When she starts East St. John High School in the fall, Kayley will be a step ahead with high school level certifications in Microsoft Office and PowerPoint.

Teacher Krystal Pauli said Kayley’s actions reflect what it means to be successful.

“She strives very hard to study, participate and always have the right outlook,” Pauli said. “You can see her dedication to the school. She never misses school, and that plays a big part.”

Kayley’s favorite subject in school is science because it involves learning through experimentation.

In Explorer Club, headed by school counselor Sharell Warren, Kayley serves as vice president of career readiness.

“We talk about what we could do in the future, and we might plan trips and things to help the community,” Kayley said. “We were talking about doing a car wash to raise money.”

Warren describes Kayley as a model student who gets along well with her peers.

“She’s a bubbly child to be around,” Warren said. “Her spirit is very unique. She’s just a sweetheart and a great asset to the Emily C. Watkins family.”

Kayley is the daughter of Amanda and Anthony Gallo of LaPlace.