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West Seattle Herald
Seattle , Washington
August 13, 1997     West Seattle Herald
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August 13, 1997

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20 Wednesday, August 13, 1997 West Seattle Herald/White Center News By Deborah Bender SeeaAL TO THE HeaAUr.EWS Singer-songwriters come in all shapes and sizes. And sometimes they come in a wheelchair. West Seattle resident Hassan Colabawal- la, 18, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, but he chooses not to let this interfere with his love of music. "A lot of people see me in my wheelchair and wonder what I can do," muses Colabawalla. "Even if I can't physically do as much, I have a good mind." "Most people with Duchenne are very alert, very much into comput- ers," he adds. Colabawalla is no exception. Although his fingers are weak, he is able to use a computer with an on- screen keyboard. To type, he points the mouse and "clicks" on the letters on screen. His brother, Yusef, who also has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, uses Morse Code to operate his computer. Colabawaila recently graduated from Chief Sealth High School where he was mainstreamed with the other students. "HIGH SCHOOL life was fairly normal for me," he explained. Although deemed a "Special-Ed" student, Colabawalla took honors courses throughout school, and ultimately received the Presidential Award for Educational Fitness. Colabawalla was also active in his school choir and sang at the commencement ceremony. Working with his choir teacher, Patricia Costa-Kim, Colabawaila wrote a song titled "When Will the Time Come." The song reflects his inspiringly positive outlook on life. The first verse paints a picture of global unity: "We are all one in this world that I want to save Ballard High! Name: Addrns: Phone: ~Pleasa dip this coupon and mail !o: ommittee to Save Ballard H.S., P.O. Box 84063, Seattle WA 98124) PLEASE JOIN US! We number over a ~ousand. Tbe Schoo/D/s~ct darts to destroy & replace Ballard this summer. We voted in 1984 to. restore Bellerd. The Ballard buildings are sound; restoration will save $I0.5 million. Call ml 521-3288 (24-hr memmge) NEWS FLASH! 23: School Board accepted to destroy & replace Ballard; was Gommlt~ held ~ to review bids.. (Asbestos removal: gua. t moli : Call School District and urge Stanford; School Board Members: Ellen Roe, Scott Barnhart, Linde Harris, Pres., Don Nielsen, Michael R'eston, flf~owa Sd'umd-Lamphere, Sugiy a) Charlie Chong: .A. wa~/merits to Wr down Ba//ard H/gh - in fifty years or less - be recognized as shortsighted and exp~ent fool~hness." Peter Steinbrueck, architect: "o sOn in 1912 noted school arch/tea Edgar B/a Ilatd High School is an tmportant part of Seattle's cultural and arch#eclural heritage... Ballard High School can and should be saved." Hassan Colabawalla we live in. Let us come together right now to find a way to a better day. And if we live by the words of Dr. King, Malcolm X and Mahatma Gandhi, we will find a way ... we will find a way." Currently, Colabawalla is working on a song to celebrate the holiday season. "My biggest interests are in music and writing my own songs," he says. Colabawalla doesn't dwell on his illness. "FOR ME the biggest thing is quality of life. The more quality I can put into my life, the better," he says. "From my morn and brother, I've learned that you just take things day by day. I look forward to the things I can do, rather than the things I can't." While Colabawalla doesn't like to plan too far into the future, he hopes to go to community college and learn more about computer technol- HAIR" SKIN" COSMETICS ogy, while continuing to write songs. Two weeks ago, Colabawalla returned from the Muscular Dystrophy Association's (MDA) annual Summer Camp. Summer camp is a tradition for him that has spanned 10 years. "It's like a second family," he explains. "I love coming back to camp and finding out what every- one's been doing over the year." During the third week of July at North Bend's Camp Waskowitz, MDA brings children with neuro- muscular diseases together to participate in activities that most children take for granted. Swim- ming, dancing, field sports and motorcycle rides are all possible for these children as they have one-on- one assistance from volunteer counselors. Colabawalla explains, "A lot of the campers I've known have great experiences with their counselors. Sometimes counselors take on a more permanent role in the camper's life. One counselor, Stacy, became the full-time nurse for her camper." EVEN OUTSIDE of camp, Colabawalla stays in touch with some of his counselors. "They'll call me, or I'il invite them to one of my school perfor- mances ... it's great, that cama- raderie," he says. At the camp talent show last summer, Colabawalla performed hi: song, "When Will the Time Come." This summer, however, Colabawal- la may have made his big break. The Trenchcoats, an a cappella group that performs at camp every We're making the Junction look good! (FREE PARKING ACROSS THE STREET) summer heard his newest song and and 7'! loved it. After hearing only a few bars of need| his love ballad "Tree Falling," the lead singer for the Trenchcoats asked the youth to send him a copy. Earlier this summer, Colabawalla a didn't know if he would even be is able to perform his song at camp. In the past year, he has weakened tremendously. To stabilize his weight, he's now hooked up to a gastric feeding tube that drips into his stomach throughout the day. He's also begun using an artificial breathing device that keeps the airways open. lesS. SPEAKING WITH his mother, Roxanne, one can see where Colabawalla gets his optimism. "My rule is that we're not supposed to feel sorry for each other," Roxanne says. Like her sons, Roxanne Colabawalla takes each day one at a time. Until recently, she had little help to care for her sons, and relied only on her daughter for assistance. But now that her sons are both older than 18, she receives 12 hours of nursing a day for each of them, split into two eight-hour shifts and two four-hour shifts. Nursing care is extremely important at this stage of the disease. "If one of the boys has no help, I can't leave," she explains. "When both the nurses are gone, between 5 early heart using on The Seattle Department Parks and Recreation's Open Space Program is sponsoring a public meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 18 to help plan and care for a newly acquired open-space par- - cel located at Seola Beach, where 35th Avenue Southwest turns mto Marine View Drive Southwest. f "A Festival of Saturday Aug 16 & $ 10am - 8pm (Rain or TOW - 25th & Arts & Crafts ExhibitOrg' Merchant Children's Craft Corner Clowns Balloons