Durham, N.C. — Don't tell Chris Hendricks he can't do something. The 30-year old Durham singer-songwriter has been known to deliberately put himself in harm's way just to prove someone wrong.
While attending college at Elon University, Hendricks decided to change his career path from physical therapy to music - an idea his mother wasn't too supportive of at first. During the argument, she told her son that the next thing she knew he'd be saying he planned to climb a mountain. "Maybe I will," Hendricks recalled saying.
Not long after that, Hendricks made friends with some local mountain climbers and headed to Pilot Mountain. Despite rules against climbing to its peak, Hendricks dragged himself up to the top. He avoided getting in trouble with park rangers when they realized Hendricks has cerebral palsy. Diagnosed at the age of 4, Hendricks has never been one to allow his condition stop him.
Hendricks climbed the mountain and turned his focus to music and has been building buzz with his new project, Castle Wild. The singer found a kindred spirit in producer Andre DiMuzio, who accompanies Hendricks on the keyboard and guitar. The group, which also includes Eric Honeycutt on drums, have been playing gigs at Deep South and Local 506. They have an upcoming show at Cats Cradle in Carrboro on June 12.
Walking with the use of cane, Hendricks said he could never really fly under the radar. In middle and high schools, he was often picked last or not at all for sports. He couldn't change who he was, but he could change how he reacted to others.
Hendricks decided to be out-spoken, even if he was still a nervous wreck on the inside. It worked. He soon found himself and his calling - to help others in similar situations.
His passion for music and fashion led him to create Perfectly Afflicted, a cause centered company that aims to lower teen suicide with motivational speaking, T-shirt sales and fundraising.
In addition, Hendricks travels to schools around the country sharing his message of acceptance and hope through music and self reflection. During a visit to the west coast last year, Hendricks met a teen who said she had planned to end her life that day, but changed her mind after hearing all he had overcome.
Hendricks is a member of the International Coaches Federation's Raleigh chapter. He will be performing and speaking during a free "The HeART of Coaching" event Friday, May 20, from 6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. at HQ Raleigh, 310 S. Harrington St.
And you can bet that his mom, his biggest fan, will be there.