Terran “Terry” Rome
At a young age Terran Rome was known to be consistently driven. He was a three sport athlete with the Herbert Hoover Boys Club. The size or skills of the opposing team did not make him flinch. It made him want to work even harder to win. Terran was also known as a natural born “hustler” and entrepreneur. He knew who to talk to and how to make things happen. During his junior and senior year of college, he owned his owned a novelty shop at Northwest Plaza with unique specialty items from Atlanta, such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, jewelry, etc. Terran was a motivational speaker for the African American Role Models program, which mentored disadvantaged youth. He also served his country by enlisting in the US Army.
Terran graduated with honors with Bachelors degree in Public Relations from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. During his last few months of school in biology class Terran looked at the board and noticed that the letters appeared crooked. He did not understand what was happening with his eyesight, especially since he had never worn glasses. Initially, he thought he was simply getting older and now needed glasses. Soon, handling everyday tasks became increasingly difficult because his vision was slowly deteriorating. Coincidentally, the last day of school was also the last day he was able to independently drive a vehicle.
In 1992 Terran was diagnosed with Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON), a rare disorder that left him legally blind. In LHON, vision loss results from the death of cells in the nerve that relays visual information from the eyes to the optic nerve or brain, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The following month, as his eyesight continued to diminish, Terran endured the tragedy of losing the one person who raised and cared for him, his grandmother, Amelia Ross. She was his confidant and someone he knew he could count on to be there for him while losing his eyesight.
Terran realized that life as he knew it would never be the same. He contemplated suicide. Thoughts of defeat and despair filled his mind and he hated everything and everyone around him. He felt like he had been cheated out of life’s opportunities. As the negative thoughts continued, a small inner voice arose in him that began to wage war against the mindset of defeat. That voice said, “How can you honor your grandmother? What better way to honor her, but to continue the good fight. The race is not always won by the one who is the fastest or the one that may be the swiftest, but by the one that stays on course.” That voice told him that he had everything he needed to be a success in this world. Terran may have been down but he was not out. He got up and instead of choosing to be bitter he became better.
Terran never wanted anyone to feel sorry for him. He wanted to prove to himself and to others that he could still be effective and make things happen. He began making power moves such as serving as founding the Missouri Annual Sister to Sister Expo, held at the downtown Convention Center from 1997 – 1999 with over 10,000 in attendance annually. He owned a promotions company called Powerhouse Productions where he managed and promoted R&B and rap artists. He organized a college comedy tour called "Powerhouse Comedy Showcase" which entertained over 25 universities within a three year span. Terran was one of the first organizers and founders of the monthly business and entrepreneurial networking function called First Fridays from 1995 – 1999. He also managed a successful real estate and rehab company and as member of the 100 Black Men of St. Louis for 4 years he assisted with Public Relations.
After learning of an experimental stem cell procedure only performed in China to restore his eyesight, Terran founded Fight for SightStl to assist with fundraising efforts in raising $30,000 to bring awareness to stems cell research and fund the surgery and trip to China. Terran currently has other entrepreneurial ventures that he is undertaking while desiring to be a blessing to those in need. Rev. Willie E. Kilpatrick, Pastor of Prince of Peace Church in St. Louis said, “There’s nothing more powerful than a man with a vision. Terry has a vision.” Terran loss the use of his eyes but never lost his faith or his vision.
View the powerful video “Stem Cell Success 2012” on YouTube. The next Fundraiser will be a Pre-Valentine’s Day Event with songtress Chrisette Michelle and Comedian Special K, February 13, 2013 at the Lumiere Hotel. 6:30pm & 9:15pm show. Tickets available at Ticketmaster. Donations via Paypal: email@example.com. Mail Donations: Fight For Sight Stl, P.O. 140152, St. Louis, MOI 63132. 314.289-8180.