25 Year All Stars: Meet Kelavonte
In 2015, PHS is excited to be celebrating 25 years of bringing patients home to receive care, where they can be with their families and grow in a comfortable environment. To celebrate the amazing journeys our patients have been on, we’re going to be highlighting their stories each month on the blog through the 25 Year All-Star series.
If Kelavonte isn’t at home this summer, you can probably find him in the studio. At 18 years old, this rapper – Kee Rhymez, as he’s known musically – has recently finished his first album, which is available at ReverbNation.com.
Despite suffering a spinal cord injury at 6 years old, Kelavonte is inspiring others and pursuing his dreams full speed ahead with a positive attitude – something his mom has always considered one of his greatest accomplishments.
A major adjustment
Kelavonte was born a healthy, chunky baby and spent the first six years of his life running around at recess and playing with the neighbors in the streets. But after a motor vehicle accident left him with a C1 and C2 spinal cord injury in 2002, Kelavonte became wheelchair- and vent-dependent and his family learned to create a new sort of normal.
Before going home, Kelavonte spent 6 months in the PICU where he received a tracheostomy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and a spinal fusion. When he was ready to discharge, PHS was there to provide respiratory supplies and equipment and help them transition into life at home with a few more accessories and pieces of equipment.
“We had no idea what to expect,” remembered Kelavonte’s mom, Desarae. “When he was in the accident, we lived in Eden Prairie in a townhome which was 3 levels. We knew that wasn’t going to work, so I found another home, but didn’t know a lot about wheelchairs and equipment. Through experience, we’ve learned how to modify a little bit better.”
Inspiring through music
While Kelavonte’s early passions may have been dance and cooking (Desarae remembers him watching Food Network at just 4 years old), these days it is all things music and rapping.
“Just going into the studio, I get an adrenaline rush,” commented Kelavonte. “I’ve performed for a crowd of over 2000 people, and am working on my first CD.”
When friends were graduating last year, Kelavonte remembers them telling him what a big inspiration he has been to them, with some even saying they had started rapping because of his passion. These days, his sister (pictured with Kelavonte and their brother) sings too – and his entire family is supportive of his musical drive.
Another hobby of Kelavonte’s? Watching anime. And while his mom might not know much about it, he’s convinced she would enjoy it if she gave it a chance.
“There’s a type of anime for everybody, just like there’s a type of movie or book for anybody,” explained Kelavonte. “Let me tell you, there’s a difference between cartoons and anime.”
Overcoming challenges with positivity
Although Kelavonte could look at what has gotten harder in his life, he prefers to make the most of the cards he has been dealt and maintains an active, social and meaningful life.
“I commend him all the time because I don’t think a lot of adults, if put in this position, could handle it so well,” mentioned Desarae. “Just the adjustments and change in quality of life – over 12 years later, and I still can’t imagine what he goes through every day.”
Kelavonte’s future is filled with goals and the determination to help him succeed in a career as a graphic designer or in the music business. As he remembered, “You know what they say – you do what you love, you don’t work a day in your life.”
With a family and friends who will always be there to support him and help him reach the goals set before him, keep an ear out for Kee Rhymez. If you’re interested in supporting his new album, visit ReverbNation.com and join for free. Once you’ve done that, search Kee Rhymez to find his album. He’s also on Twitter – follow him here.Originally published: June 3, 2015