Pendergrass Is 'Truly Blessed'

Although an appearance to promote a new book may look like just another public appearance for a long-time singing star, for Teddy Pendergrass, it's a miracle.

On March 18, 1982, an automobile accident left the R&B singer paralyzed from the chest down and wheelchair-bound. His doctors told him he would never be able to grasp objects normally. They gave him ten years to live.

"I thought this was short-term to death," Pendergrass says. "I didn't know. So, I look at everything as positive as I can."

Since that devastating prognosis, Pendergrass has continued recording and performing, and has written his autobiography, calling it Truly Blessed.

"Having come through all kinds of turmoil and trauma, and you're still around to talk about it, you better believe you're truly blessed," he says.

In the book, Pendergrass talks candidly about his life, from his childhood days in the ghettos of north Philadelphia to the headlines surrounding the reported role of alcohol and a transsexual on the night of his wreck.

"It's been a very hurtful road to know people were disseminating wrong information," Pendergrass now says. "I want to set that straight so people understand I do have some morality."

Pendergrass says he hopes readers of his autobiography come away with a message: "Don't look at people with a pity attitude, thinking that disability means unability. It just doesn't."

Pendergrass recently formed the Teddy Pendergrass Education/Occupation Alliance for the Disabled. He says he formed the national organization to help people with spinal cord injuries bridge the gap between potential and productivity.