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Young metro Detroit man who was shot in head earns associates degree

Posted at 5:55 PM, May 05, 2017

We first told you about Balaal Hollings four years ago. When a fight broke out at a party, the young man who was an honor student at Northwestern High, a football star, and class president tried to break it up. Then someone pulled out a gun and fired.

A bullet was lodged in Balaal’s brain. His sister told us she didn’t know if he would make it.

Then about two months later Balaal called Seven Action News.  He wanted our cameras to record him surprising his class.  He got out of the hospital just in time to walk at graduation.  It was an extraordinary moment.

Life went on, but wasn’t easy after graduation.  Balaal lost his mom shortly before his injury.   He lost a football scholarship due to his injury. He had limited support.  Balaal found himself homeless.

“I was living in a shelter, but I overcame it by persevering and wanting to be the first person to get a degree,” said Balaal.

Balaal focused on his goal.  He continued going to community college.  On Saturday he will walk at Jackson Community College’s graduation ceremony.  He earned an associates in general studies and now is working on a bachelor’s degree at Eastern Michigan University.

Balaal  keeps the helmet he had to wear after he had brain surgery to remind him of how far has has come and football helmets to remind him of a game that that is all about where you are going.

“I am not at my goal yet, but it is just every day.”