Wilmington teen working to achieve dream of becoming neurosurgeon to help others

A Wilmington freshman is working to achieve his goal to become a neurosurgeon and help people. He said it all stemmed from an experience he had as a 5-year-old, when his grandfather suffered a stroke.

"I always just wanted to help people in the best way I could. And I think my contribution to helping people would be in neuroscience or in the medical field," said Angel Cardenas. "I enjoy finding solutions to problems. So biomedical engineering would also be a great addition to neuroscience neurosurgery. But neurosurgery is my main goal."

Angel, 14, has as a very clear career goal. But how did his choice come about?

"When I was 5 years old, my grandfather suffered his first stroke. And ever since then, I've always wondered what can cause this to happen? What caused my grandpa to lose mobility in his right side? And ever since, I've wanted to study neurology and that developed into me wanting to be a neurosurgeon," he said.

Some people assume he's just extremely smart, but Angel said he doesn't think that's the case.

"I just think that it's a lot of hard work," he said.

But this high school freshman understands work-life balance. He's on the varsity baseball team and plays clarinet in the band. And it sounds like Harbor Teacher Prep Academy in Wilmington offers him great opportunities.

"We attend high school and college at the same time. So by the time we graduate, we graduate with our AA degree," he said.

Angel credits his upbringing with his work ethic.

"I was told that, at a very young age that whatever I wanted to do, to pursue it. But I have to be the best at it," Angel said.

Angel's goal is to go to medical school, and he's just been selected as a Delegate to the Congress of Future Medical Leaders.

"When my family asks me why would you go through all this trouble. My answer is, because it's my dream! It's what I've always wanted to do. And I'm going to work my hardest to get to where I want to be," he said.
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.