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Originally published Tuesday, November 21, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Spokane magazine designed for disabled young people

Look out O, Elle and Jane. Logan the magazine is here. From her wheelchair, Logan Olson, 21, smiles back from the glossy pages of the first...

The Spokesman-Review

SPOKANE — Look out O, Elle and Jane. Logan the magazine is here.

From her wheelchair, Logan Olson, 21, smiles back from the glossy pages of the first issue of the new fashion and lifestyle magazine for young people with disabilities, named after her.

The Spokane woman is the inspiration and driving force behind the publication. The first issue, more than two years in the making, is set to hit newsstands this month, full of advice, tools for independence and stories of inspiration. "I wanted to tell people it isn't over yet; life is not over yet," Olson said.

Olson was born with a congenital heart defect, pulmonary atresia, in which the heart valve that sends blood to the lungs is unformed or closed. By age 16, Olson had undergone six surgeries.

On Halloween 2001, just shy of her 17th birthday, she had a heart attack while visiting a Post Falls, Idaho, haunted house.

Olson's heart stopped, and the teen slipped into a weeks-long coma. She suffered a brain injury that left her relearning the most basic functions.

She couldn't hold up her head, sit or stand. Her fine motor skills were impaired, preventing her from doing simple things such as holding a pen or a toothbrush, buttoning a coat or brushing hair.

"We all had to learn a lot," said her mother, Laurie Olson.

After returning home from the hospital, Olson wanted to be as much of a teenager again as possible. She wanted to go to the mall, go shopping, apply makeup.

"We went on the Internet looking for fashion tips for girls with disabilities. What do you wear when you are in a wheelchair?" Laurie Olson said.

So with help from her mother, her father, Tim, and extended family, Olson explored starting a magazine for girls like her.

Olson's counselors and teachers encouraged her to explore the magazine as a career. But a counselor with the Washington state Department of Vocational Rehabilitation told the girl "absolutely not; no way," her mother said.

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The family pushed on, pursued a business plan and hired a certified public accountant and public-relations firm.

Eventually, the state vocation department agreed to fund Logan magazine, for about $30,000, Laurie Olson said. Anything else would have to come from the magazine's profits. So far, Laurie Olson said, her family has spent about $20,000 of its own money to get the magazine off the ground. The Olsons started reaching out to contributing writers, some of whom have disabilities, and developing content ideas.

"It definitely fills a niche that has yet to be recognized," said Adam Membrey, a Gonzaga University student who is deaf and wrote a story for the first issue.

Subscriptions are arriving from Ohio, Colorado and New York, from people willing to pay $14 a year.

"We just really thought we would just do a little local magazine," Laurie Olson said.

But she said the message has become clear: Young people with disabilities need a place to connect.

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