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“Every time someone tells me I can’t do something, I try and do it anyway.”

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By Tabitha Haly

I was born with muscular dystrophy. I’m now 33 and in a wheelchair. I experience constant loss—loss of physical strength, loss of mobility. With each loss, I cry for a few days. 

Then I try to solve the problem.

Throughout my life, music has sustained me. When I was ten, it actually saved my life.

I almost died after I went into respiratory arrest. I was unconscious and couldn’t breathe on my own. My parents thought they’d lost me. When I regained consciousness, the doctors suggested a tracheotomy. I asked my doctor if I’d be able to sing in the same way with a tracheotomy. When he said no, I knew I had to try my hardest to come off the ventilator so I could sing again. Somehow, I managed it. Wanting to sing gave me the extra motivation to breathe.

Music has also helped me deal with other challenges. It sustained me through the worst time of my life two years ago. I broke my femur while trying to have sex. I was bedridden and in agony for three months. I became deeply depressed. I worried, “Does this mean I can never have a love life?”

I got through it by creating new songs. I rehearsed with my band and worked full-time from my bed. I wrote two songs about the injury: “Get By” and “Falling Down.”

After I recovered, I allowed myself to pursue online dating again. And now, just two years later, I’m married! I may never have met my husband if it wasn’t for my muscular dystrophy. We met at the New York Disability Pride Parade, where I was the opening performer. My next goal is to have children. If it doesn’t happen naturally, I would love to adopt or foster.

Every time someone tells me I can’t do something, I try and do it anyway. I’m used to working for the things I want. I graduated summa cum laude with a degree in computer science. I’ve worked full-time in tech since graduating from college. I’m a singer-songwriter, and I perform throughout New York City. I volunteer regularly at the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I record audio books for blind and dyslexic people.

When other people doubt me, it motivates me even more to prove them wrong.

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Tabitha has muscular dystrophy and is in a wheelchair. By day she is a full-time analyst developer and by night she is a singer-songwriter. Tabitha's music is about life, love, and overcoming obstacles.   

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