Theodore DeReese Pendergrass • Theodore DeReese Pendergrass was born on March 26th, 1950 in Philadelphia, PA. He was raised by his mother, Ida Pendergrass and he was only 2 1/2 years old when he began singing in church. At age 6 he was chosen for the All city Elementary School Boy Choir. He was a student at the old Thomas Edison High School for Boys. However, he dropped out in the 11th grade to go into the music business. According to author Robert Ewell Greene, Teddy Pendergrass was ordained a minister as a youngster. Later he was to become a drummer for a band, and soon after lead singer. The church was his initiation into the music industry and eventual success. Musical career Pendergrass' career began when he was a drummer for The Cadillacs. This group later merged with Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. The Blue Notes had hits such as "I Miss You", "Bad Luck", "Wake Up Everybody", "The Two Million Seller", "If You Don't Know Me By Now", and many more. It wasn’t long before Pendergrass launched a solo career and released hit singles like "The More I Get the More I Want", "Close The Door" , "I Don't Love You Anymore", "Turn Off The Lights", and more. Pendergrass was the first African-American singer to sell five platinum albums in a row. He also began his practice of ladies-only concerts, for which he remains well-know. His first solo album was self titled Teddy Pendergrass (1977), followed by Life Is a Song Worth Singing (1978), Live Coast to Coast and Teddy (1979), 1980's TP and the final Philadelphia International Records album It's Time For Love (1981). On March 18th, 1982, Teddy's life was changed dramatically and forever when a horrifying auto accident left him paralyzed from the chest down and wheel-chair bound. He spent the next six months in the hospital and in rehab before returning home. He founded the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance (TPA), a national organization that helps people with spinal cord injury (SCI) rebuild their lives. TPA acts as a conduit, making the resources of government, universities and private industry more readily available to people with SCI who seek education, training and employment. Spinal Cord Injuries • Injuries can occur at any level of • Paralysis of most of the body the spinal cord. including the arms and legs, called • The segment of the cord that is quadriplegia, is the likely result. injured, and the severity of the Automobile accidents are often injury, will determine which body responsible for spinal cord functions are compromised or lost. damage in the middle back (the • a spinal cord injury can have thoracic or lumbar area), which significant physiological can cause paralysis of the lower consequences because it acts as trunk and lower extremities, called the main information pathway paraplegia. between the brain and the rest of • Other kinds of injuries that directly the body. penetrate the spinal cord, such as • Catastrophic falls, being thrown gunshot or knife wounds, can from a horse or through a either completely or partially sever windshield, or any kind of physical the spinal cord and create life-long trauma that crushes and disabilities compresses the vertebrae in the neck can cause irreversible damage at the cervical level of the spinal cord and below. The Wheelchair • is a wheeled mobility device in which the user sits. The device is propelled either manually (by pushing the wheels with the hands) or via various automated systems. Wheelchairs are used by people for whom walking is difficult or impossible due to illness, injury, or disability • Manual or self-propelled wheelchairs are propelled by the occupant, usually by using large rear wheels, from 20-26 inches in average diameter, and resembling those of bicycle wheels. The user moves the chair by pushing on the hand rims, which are made of circular tubing attached to the outside of the large wheel. Attendant-propelled chairs are designed to be propelled by an attendant using the handles, and thus the back wheels are rimless and often smaller. These chairs are often used as 'transfer chairs' to move a patient when a better alternative is unavailable, possibly within a hospital, as a temporary option, or in areas where a user's standard chair is unavailable •Three general styles of electric powered chairs exist: rear, center, front wheel driven or four wheel driven. Each style has particular handling characteristics and are also divided by seat type; some models resemble manual chairs, with a sling-style seat and frame, whereas others have 'captain's chair' seating like that of an automobile. Electric powered chairs run the gamut from small and portable models, which can be folded or disassembled, to very large and heavy full-featured chairs.