Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Paul Welch-a brief bio

Paul on the right in a wild moment two years ago before his arms were so useless. Paul (May 2007) on far right excitedly trying to communicate with his brother who was visiting from the Bay Area and his mother. Paul communicates when he can with a whispered word or two and small hand gestures. Paul on left (May 2007) listening to his brother and mother talk but unable to enter into the conversation.

For any of you do have never met Paul.

Let me tell you of his wonderful belly laugh when he was a baby. The time he ran for treasurer of his elementary school and lost by three votes. Then the student who won did not want to do the duties of treasurer which was to sell pencils and erasers etc at little student store. Paul volunteered and did the job without the title He never complained. He never he felt slighted He just was his always helpful cheerful self. The whole school year he did the job.

At his large public high school, Vista High, he took every AP and IB class. He had nearly straight A’s. He had a couple of B’s, so was not valedictorian like his older brother had been. He didn’t care, not one bitter or sad or angry word. He had enough college credits from the AP courses to have nearly a year of college.

His SAT scores and grade point average were both above the median for acceptance at the University of California, San Diego where he applied as a HS senior. When he was denied, I called the placement office to find out why he had not been accepted. The woman I talked to confirmed the median scores for acceptance at UCSD and that Paul was above them. She told me UCSD had added extra criteria that year for acceptance. The new criteria took into account how many high school clubs the applicants had held a position of VP or President and the kind of clubs they were Some clubs were worth more than others. Paul had been on the debate team and in other clubs but was not an officier. Who knew that criterion would be added?

So Paul attended the local community college. He never even complained. It was just another opportunity. He entered the TAG program which guaranteed acceptance to UCSD if completed successfully. He had straight A’s for the entire two years at Mira Costa Community College, not one B or lower in any of his classes including three semesters of calculus.

He started dating a girl at the beginning of his sophomore year. She worked at the student newspaper, so he joined to. By Christmas he was editor.

When he got to UCSD, he excelled. He did get his first two Bs in college but he was still was scheduled to graduate Cum Laude until the last quarter of his senior year, the newly diagnosed PsA got too bad to be able to finish all course requirements and he had to take a couple more Bs. UCSD only counted courses taken at UCSD towards a Cum Laude so his grades for his freshman and sophomore year at Mira Costa did not count. No complaints from Paul those were just the rules.

He started in on a Master’s program at a closer college CSU San Marcos so he could live at home and we could help him with day to day routines. He found there were not enough handicapped parking spaces at CSUSM so he organized other handicapped students and spoke with the dean in charge. It took weeks yet in the end he got more spaces closer to the buildings for the handicapped. It had been a problem for those students for years. Paul solved it in weeks.

In December of that first semester in the masters program his fingers suddenly ballooned into sausages. He no longer could type. We got Dragon Naturally Speaking. In the many, many hours needed to “train” the program to understand him, he blew out his voice. It returned only briefly for about three weeks when he started the Enbrel.

Never, never, never did he complain. He just adjusted and accommodated with good humor. Now he is suffocating because his chest muscles are so stiff and sore and a medication which might help him is just beyond his grasp. Please share Paul’s story with anyone who might be able to help him get that medicine.

Contact me at or if you can be of help

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