By Rochelle Riley • Free Press Columnist • February 20, 2009
Two months later -- after four hours of surgery, 60 days of anguish and 86,000 unstoppable seconds of knowing that he wouldn't walk again -- he got a visit from Pistons legend Isiah Thomas asking him to be the grand marshal of an anticrime parade. Two weeks after that, he began speaking to what would become thousands of youths, initially on his own, and 10 years later as part of Pioneers for Peace, a group of living victims who show what gun violence can do.
Twenty-three years later, he is battling Stage 4 bladder cancer and doctors have given him six months to live. But Weusi Olusola wasn't beaten then, and he isn't beaten now. He plans to be there on March 7 when the Park West Foundation, which funds family and youth initiatives, fetes him with a lifetime achievement award.
"The number of kids that he has touched personally, that he has made an impact on, I can't even count," said Saba Gebrai, program director of the Park West Foundation. "There has not been a school, a community, a hellhole that we have not been in. After homicides, when nobody else is there, there are just a few people you can call. He's one of them."