‘Special’ Recognition

Award-winning video artist Katelyn Pawlitschek is shown with her plaques. Pawlitschek has won Creative Entertainment’s “Once Upon a Time” music video contest for the last four years.

It was perhaps the love of a fairy-tale television show that turned video into a calling for a young disabled woman.

Katelyn (Kels) Pawlitschek of Yankton has won Creative Entertainment’s “Once Upon a Time” music video contest every year since the contest was instituted four years ago.

“In 2016, when I saw her video, I knew she would be a winner, so we flew out to Los Angeles for the awards and (spent) three days with the stars of the show,” said her mother Carolyn Chafee Cappel. “The second year, the convention was held in Orlando, Florida, and we were fortunate to attend and again spend three days with the stars of the show, and again her video won.”

Last year, Pawlitschek was unable to attend the convention, but submitted her entry anyway, and won.

This year, Chafee Cappel was undergoing cancer treatments and was unable to accompany her daughter to the convention. Nonetheless, Pawlitschek submitted her video entry and, in October, received notification that she had won again.

Pawlitschek, now 28, has suffered from spastic quadripregic cerebral palsy since birth and only received confirmation of her video-editing talent later in life.

Her 2016 video submission was the first she had ever publicly shared.

Possibly, it was her love of that particular show that brought her to what she hopes may be her calling, she told the Press & Dakotan.

“I am totally obsessed with the show,” Pawlitschek said. “I’ve been making videos since I was 10 years old. I have a passion to make videos and for other TV shows, too.”

Her medical condition has not made her journey an easy one, as it impacts all her muscles, even her tongue, which interferes with her speech, her mother explained.

“Her muscles feel like yours do when you have a Charlie horse, but that’s how they feel all the time,” Chafee Cappel said. “I think she spent the first four years of her life crying because she was in so much pain all the time. Then she just got used to (the fact) that’s the way life is.”

Despite the constant cramping of her muscles, Pawlitschek could walk with a walker until the fifth grade.

“Then, she was doing hippotherapy, which is horseback riding, and the way it spread her legs pulled the hip out of the socket,” Chafee Cappel said “She needed extensive surgery and she was never able to walk after that.”

Being confined to a wheelchair may have slowed Pawlitschek down, but it didn’t stop her from exploring her own skills and reaching out to help others.

“Another passion I have is caring for underprivileged people, like the children I have adopted in Haiti, after having gone to Haiti on three trips,” Pawlitschek said. “I always wanted to go to Haiti and help out after the earthquake in 2010 that devastated that country. So, I saved up all my money, and in 2012, I went for the first time.”

Pawlitschek adopted three children and returns to the mountain areas, to the poorest of the poor, to visit them, she said.

“I fell in love with those sweet little children. They have nothing. NOTHING. And we have so much,” Pawlitschek said. “I am thankful I can help with the medical expenses for a little girl we found there that’s paralyzed. We also helped the family start up a business, and now their living conditions are a little better.”

Though she hopes to return to Haiti when her mother’s health improves, these days, Pawlitschek is focused on growing her video editing talent into a small business.

“It takes a lot of dedication for her (as a spastic quardoplegia) to create the video she does,” Chafee Cappel said. “I am so proud of her and her good work.

“She’s not special needs, but special ability.”

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To see Pawlitschek’s winning videos go to kovu1234567890 on Youtube or @kovu1234567890 on Facebook.

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