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What would you do if you were shot in the head two months shy of your eighteenth birthday and your high school graduation? For Balaal Hollings,
the answer is that you trust in God, focus on your recovery, learn to walk and
talk again and then give a speech as Senior Class President during the graduation – all in two months. Then, of course, you go out and throw the first
pitch at a Tiger’s game in Detroit’s Commercia Park.

In April 2013, Balaal was shot while attending a friend’s spring break party. Some guys that no one knew showed up at the party and started trouble. The party was quickly shut down and as people were leaving, gun shots rang out from the uninvited guests. Balaal was struck in the head and the bullet lodged in his brain.

Balaal was taken to Sinai-Grace Hospital where he was operated on by neurosurgeon Dr. Aria Sabit.  "He was essentially the definition of dead. There was no functioning in his brain whatsoever,” Sabit said. But he decided to operate anyway because Balaal was young enough that he might just survive this ordeal. After two hours, the surgeon was able to stop the bleeding and relieve pressure on the brain.

It was a shock to his classmates and friends. Balaal was the senior class president and the homecoming king. He played multiple sports and was captain of the football team. He was even voted Most Likely to Succeed in the yearbook. 

"This young man represents what we're all about, that is, academic success, and it was critically important for me to go to the hospital and let him and his family know that he is important to us, that he has a bright
future, and that we stand ready to ensure his continued success," said Roy Roberts, who is the  Detroit Public Schools emergency manager.

Balaal never doubted that he would get better. He focused on his rehabilitation and put his trust in God. Over the next two months, his hard work paid off as he was able to walk across the stage at his graduation and deliver that speech. (see video below)

“God is not done with me. I know I haven't fulfilled my purpose. I'm not sure what that purpose is, but I know I haven't done it yet. It's a lot He still wants me to do,” said Balaal.

During his graduation speech, he said: “First, I want to thank God. It’s so good to be alive. This is just a small piece of my life. I still have my whole life to live.” The auditorium went nuts for him and now he
continues to inspire many around the country.

To read more about the story, go to: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/06/07/teen-shooting-victim-it-is-so-good-to-be-alive/2402795/




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