Ali-Zia-Kerawala sat in a wheelchair

Ali-Zia Kerawala

$515 of $5,000 raised

Ali-Zia Kerawala

Since he was young, Zia has been fascinated with the ocean and scuba diving. He grew up watching documentaries about oceanography and dreamed of one day being able to explore the vast ocean himself. However, a diagnosis in early childhood threatened to keep this dream from ever coming true. At just 6 years old, Zia was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy III, a progressive neuromuscular disorder that causes muscle weakness and atrophy.

Doctors were not optimistic and predicted Zia would no longer be ambulatory by 10 years old with a life expectancy of 16 years old. Thankfully, Zia defied the odds given by the doctors, even participating in wrestling throughout middle school and high school. In 2009, doctors recommended a spinal fusion from T2 to L5 in order to correct his spinal curvature. After the surgery, Zia began walking with a cane as well as using an electric wheelchair to help with his decreased mobility. By 2017, Zia had become a full-time wheelchair user. But Zia refused to let his diagnosis or its limitations slow him down.

Zia began performing standup comedy in 2010 and still regularly performs at open mics as well as occasional paid gigs. He loves to make people laugh and be in front of an audience. He also enjoys cooking, reading, and writing, and even heads the Writing Center at his university. He is currently enrolled in a program for clinical mental health counseling with the hopes of becoming a therapist. Zia hopes to one day open his own counseling practice and get his PhD.

Along with his buddy and Fiance Sadiya, he will be learning to dive with the Dive Pirates in Houston.

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Donation Total: $100.00