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Local high school athlete raised money for UPMC Children’s Hospital Foundation

PITTSBURGH — Local athletes giving back to the community are often highlighted here in Pittsburgh. Usually, they’re a member of the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates or Pitt. But one local high school start is making a big impact through a big donation to the UPMC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

“I’m just super impressed with him as a person,” said Rachel Petrucelli, the president of the UPMC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

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She’s referring to Laurel Highlands star football and basketball player Rodney Gallagher III. The rising senior is one of the top football players in the state and a star point guard for the Mustangs, yet last month what he did off the field, raising $1,000 for UPMC Children’s Hospital, was what drew a whole lot of attention.

“To see an individual like Rodney step forward, I think speaks volumes about the kind of people in the kind of community we have here in Pittsburgh,” said Petrucelli.

“It’s real cool,” said Gallagher. “I always want to try to be involved in that type of stuff, and just help out as much as I can.”

Gallagher and his older sister have been raising money for numerous local foundations and organizations since his freshman year. They sell T-shirts with his name on it for both football and basketball.

“I think it’s just important because I feel like if I do things like this, I think good things will come out of it, and it’ll have an impact on me,” said Gallagher. “So I just continue to do positive things.”

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The impact Gallagher is making on Children’s through his donation is a tangible one.

“We can support our child life specialists to be at the bedside,” said Petrucelli. “We can support our supportive care program that helps families through the difficult journeys, and most importantly, supporting research which brings more hope.”

And as Gallagher’s athletic career is just beginning, the WVU commit can’t wait to continue to bring more hope to those who need it most. He’s ecstatic to find more ways to give back, especially in his hometown of Laurel Highlands, with dreams of potentially building a playground.

“For me just to get involved, with me still being in high school is pretty cool,” said Gallagher. “I’m just going to continue to do it all throughout my career.”