OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- A Blue Valley Southwest senior is already building a career in medicine while he's still in high school, and the science and medical industries have noticed his leadership potential.
Since childhood, 18-year-old Ahmed Shabbir has known what he wanted to do when he grew up.
"I loved medicine. It's just one thing that I really love," Shabbir said.
The Blue Valley Southwest senior is taking five Advanced Placement classes this spring and still makes time to volunteer. He's put in about a thousand hours with the Boy Scouts, at Truman Medical Center, at the VA Hospital and the KU Medical Center.
"He pursues a lot of opportunities that I don`t see other young individuals pursuing," said Heather Wilkins, a KU Medical Center scientist. "Often I think about what I was doing at his age, and it definitely was not working in a research laboratory. So I know that he`s going to go really far in his life."
The 18-year-old has been inducted into three honor societies and has been invited to prestigious lectures and seminars for hospitals and future medical leaders.
He said medicine runs in his blood.
"My mother was a health care administrator, and my father was a psychiatrist," Shabbir said. "I also have many uncles and aunts and cousins that are also physicians, and I was kind of around this sphere of influence of medicine."
Giving back also runs in his family. He and his mother went to Kenya last summer on a medical mission trip.
"We did a total of over 200 eye exams and gave away 65 prescription glasses to both an orphanage and to the surrounding community of the village," he said.
It only strengthened his commitment to help others.
"From that experience I got a better understanding of how well I have it here in the Kansas City area and how much just the little things that help when it comes to people around the world," the teen said.
And Shabbir has not just one but two mottos he lives by.
"The first one is, 'Life`s like a game. You gotta play smart to win,'" he said. "My second one has more of kind of a philosophical aspect to it. But its from the Jedi master Yoda: 'Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.'"
And that led to his work with Seven Days and the Kansas City Interfaith Alliance, bringing young people from different faiths and backgrounds together.
"If people were to educate themselves and were to surround themselves by different people with diverse backgrounds, I'm a true advocate that if they were to take that initiative, then we could have a much safer world, a more peaceful world," he said.
Shabbir and the Kansas City Interfaith Alliance helped organize the Seven Days events, which just ended Monday night. Shabbir worked on the live streams and social media, so people who couldn't attend in person could still take part.
After high school, Shabbir is off to college and then medical school to become an oncologist.
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