Brother, sister speak of love, hope

Love was in the air at the Dorothy Garret Coliseum Thursday night. “The Love Chromosome,” sponsored by the Healthy Women Foundation Speaker Series, in partnership with Scenic Mountain Medical Center's Healthy Woman program, featured motivational speaker Derrick Tennant and his sister Julie. “The series has been very successful,” said Howard College President, Dr. Cheryl Sparks. “It has gained a following. I see a lot of familiar faces here tonight.”The series spotlights people who have overcome obstacles in their lives and have had some measure of success.Derrick, stand up comedian and sometime magician, has himself overcome many obstacles. At a young age he was already a gifted athlete and was progressing in his dreams for a career in sports when one evening in 1985 he laid down but did not wake up for three days. He had undergone what doctors would later term “random bleeding from point ‘x’ for an unknown reason.” Completely paralyzed and in a coma, Derrick underwent brain surgery from which he became paralyzed on the right side of his body.  After years of therapy, he was able to relearn simple tasks such as walking, talking and simple daily tasks like tying his shoes. He never fully regained the use of his left arm and he walks with a limp. In 1993, he played basketball overseas competitively and with only one arm and one leg.“You should have seen me when I had two,” he quipped. Now, with the help of his sister Julie who has overcome her own obstacles, he travels the country giving inspirational speeches. He credits his recovery to what he refers to as, “A simple thing” — love. “Love is the answer to everything,” Derrick said.For the entire story, pick up the Herald's weekend edition newspaper.