According to medical science, HK Derryberry should never have survived. Born July 8, 1990 in Nashville, Tennessee, this two-pound baby boy arrived three months premature due to an automobile accident that took his nineteen-year-old mother's life. Because of the accident and his premature birth, he was born blind with cerebral palsy and other lifetime medical issues. His father abandoned him at age five and his paternal grandmother has raised him. HK's life was forever changed in 1999 when he unexpectedly met Jim Bradford, a local business executive who was married and had two grown daughters. HK and Jim became inseparable and Jim's personal mentoring and constant interaction exposed HK to a world he had never experienced. Vanderbilt University medical researchers discovered that HK is among only a handful of people in the world with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM) allowing him nearly total recall of every detail and minute of his life since he was 4 years old! Today, HK and Jim's inspirational message "If God Is In Your Life Anything Is Possible" captivates and inspires audiences everywhere. They have shared their story nationally with more than 100,000 people since 2012. In 2017, they were nationally featured in an "Inspiring America" segment of NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt and the Huckabee Show on TBN with Governor Mike Huckabee. In October 2016, their story was featured in USA Today. Their book, "The Awakening of HK Derryberry," is an Amazon bestseller and the 2017 Audi Award winner for the nation's best non-fiction faith-based audiobook. A German and Braille edition was released in 2018. HK's life is a constant reminder that you can accomplish anything you desire in life by first defining your personal capabilities, maintaining a positive attitude, working hard, having fun, and never giving up. His audience takeaway is: "The only disability any of us have in life is a negative attitude."
As a teacher, can you imagine being faced with the challenge of teaching a boy who's blind, has cerebral palsy, lacks mobility due to a stroke that left him with paralysis, and has slight brain damage. HK Derryberry and Jim Bradford tell how two extraordinary teachers made a difference in the life of a disabled boy. They share emotion stirring stories about believing so much in HK and his capabilities they defied the odds and the wisdom of other educators to ensure he is given every possible chance for achieving accomplishments once thought impossible including learning to navigate a braille machine with the use of only one hand and graduating high school with a State Certified diploma.
HK's life is a constant reminder that you can accomplish anything you desire in life by first understanding your capabilities, maintaining a positive attitude, working hard, having fun, and never giving up. HK's motto: “The Only Disability Any Of Us Have in Life is a Negative Attitude.” Their presentation is customized for each event.
Following the accident that took his mother's life, HK Derryberry spent the first ninety-six days of his life in Vanderbilt University Medical Center's neonatal intensive care unit. Although blind with cerebral palsy what happened to HK's brain as he fought for survival left him with deficits but may have bestowed an astonishing gift of perfect memory of everything that has ever happened to him since he was three years old. The condition, called hyperthymesia or superior autobiographical memory, has been identified in only a small number of people world-wide. HK is only the second case to be presented in scientific literature and the first to have structural imaging to examine the brain. Researchers hope the study of HK's brain may one day lead to a cure for memory loss.
Jim Bradford says HK's remarkable memory prevents him from forgetting important events including birthdays, anniversaries, business meetings, and people's names. However, on numerous ocassions his memory has proven to present some very embrassing moments as well. Their presentation is filled with unforgettable laughter filled true stories...followed by audience questions and answers.
One cold October morning, a senior business executive entered a drafty fast-food restaurant in search of hot coffee. He certainly was not seeking a son, but the small nine-year old boy sporting an overgrown buzz haircut and missing baby teeth desperately needed a dad. The businessman had no clue this boy was born when a car wreck took his mother's life, or that he had been raised by his grandmother when his alcoholic father abandoned him at age five. He did not know the little boy was blind, had cerebral palsy, and plenty of other issues, or that he spend eighteen solitary hours in the restaurant most weekends while his grandmother worked the cash register.
Seventeen years later neither Jim Bradford nor HK Derryberry could have fathomed how much this chance encounter would transform each others life. Their amazing true story of friendship and HK's triumph over insurmountable odds is an emotional roller coaster for all audiences. Each presentation is customized for each event.