Tabitha Haly, a songwriter, is not your ordinary singer. She goes beyond singing and belts, a technique that allows her to strengthen her lungs as she continues to battle spinal muscular atrophy.
Spinal muscular atrophy is a muscular condition that affects muscle movement and respiration. The condition is genetic and has been reported in about 10,000 children globally.
Diagnosed at infancy
Tabitha was diagnosed with the condition at the age of 9 months and has never been able to walk. She now says that once easy tasks continue to become more difficult for her, adding that whenever she can’t sing or hold a note, she knows that she has gotten weaker.
Her father introduced her to music at the age of 3 years. Since then, singing has been her healthy outlet to release all the stress and emotions. With music helping her find balance in life, she achieved success in education by graduating with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a minor in mathematics and music from Pace University. She is currently VP at JP Morgan Chase.
Apart from singing, Haly also goes for physical and occupational therapy. She also employs health aides who help her 24 hours a day. At night she sleeps with a ventilator. All things can take a toll on anyone’s mental health, but the music keeps her going.
Tabitha’s first album titled “I Wrote Life” was released in 2019. In the album, she talks about her life’s challenges and how she keeps emerging victorious against all odds. In an interview with CNN, she says that she starts writing a song about it whenever she feels incompetent.
The album’s first single is titled “I Am Able.”She says that it’s not her first advocacy song, but it holds a special place in her heart.
Advocating for disabled rights
Haly also champions disability rights in her live performances by highlighting other hardships people living with disabilities go through apart from mobility problems. Her songs are mostly motivational, and she hopes they will help people believe in themselves and strive to achieve what they want in life.