Many remember Pooch Hall from his character “Derwin Davis” from the hit BET show The Game and the Showtime original hit series, Ray Donavan. The young actor’s smile, just like his name “Pooch”, is lovable. But where did it come from?
The answer is the same answer for where he gets his inspiration, his drive and his energy from: Family.
“I’ve been Pooch since I was in my mom’s pooch,” Hall says. “My father is one of those guys who never gets anyone’s name right and so the next door neighbor was always calling me Pooky when I was in my mom’s stomach. So my dad started saying Poochy. So it’s actually Poochy, but I go by Pooch.”
Now 40-year-old Pooch is married to Linda Hall, a realtor in California and they have three kids, daughters Djanai and Djaedra, and son Djordan.
Pooch’s eldest daughter, Djanai, has the developmental disability, Cerebral Palsy,that results in her being unable to walk or talk on her own and suffers from constant seizures.
The symptoms differ from patient to patient, but can include exaggerated reflexes, floppy or rigid limbs, and involuntary motions. These appear by early childhood. Long-term treatment includes physical and other therapies, drugs, and sometimes surgery.
Despite Djanai’s condition, it doesn’t stop her from changing the hearts and minds of others, including her dad.
“I try and keep my family life private. I don’t like to bring work home but it is becoming harder the more popular shows I’m on become,” says Hall.
“I will be with my kids and they are wondering ‘Why do people want to take a picture of my daddy?’ My oldest daughter is developmentally delayed and handicapped. A lot of people don’t know that about her because I’m sensitive about her and protective of her and all my kids, but that really changed my life.
But when things get a little tough taking care of his special needs daughter, Hall, once again is able to lean on family.
“My oldest daughter requires a lot of attention and work and that’s where my wife comes in and is a strong woman. She can’t be as great as she can be because she has to make sure that my daughter can be her greatest.”
“Djanai is a gift and a beautiful being. A lot of people complain about stuff that is really dumb. My daughter can’t walk or talk and is one of the happiest people on the planet. All she knows is love.
I take a page from her book. The world would be so much better if we don’t judge. I don’t complain about dumb s**t. She doesn’t know hate, she doesn’t know race, she doesn’t know judgement. She just knows love and fun. I took a lesson from her. “
Actor Pooch Hall and his wife Linda hosted a “Sweet Sixteen” to remember for their daughter Djanai Hall two years ago and just celebrated her graduating from high school last year.
The party, titled “Special Needs Family Prom,” spotlighted Djanai along with other children battling with developmental disorders. Djanai’s diagnosis spurred her parents to reach out to other moms and dads who have children with special needs. Together Pooch and Linda formed an organization called Djanai’s Angels,which seeks to build self-esteem among special needs kids and spread awareness about Palsy to parents.
“I became a daddy to my younger brother – first,”admits Hall. “When my parents were divorced, we lived with my dad. And as an older brother, I had to help around the house. I sorta assume the role while my dad was at work. I had to hold it down. To be honest, that was probably like my first taste of fatherhood.
When asked about the role any father should play, Hall simply said,“I think a father is very important in the sense that he offers a male perspective and a male structure to the family household. I think it’s important for a man to be in a child’s life because he can touch on some things that moms may not be familiar. That’s why you have a mom and a dad. I wish it was like that for a lot of families. Shout out to single moms.”
Several other people would have kept such an intimate part of their life a Secret,but he chose to shine and learn from the experience he has amassed looking after his medically challenged daughter. He has gone beyond looking after his daughter to helping other parents become aware of their children who suffer from cerebral palsy and he furnishes them with details in caring for these kids in addition to helping these kids find some sort of fulfillment by building self worth and self esteem.
Take a page from this book written by Pooch Hall.If he can make it work,you can too.
Just start from where you are with that first step.
Culled from blackdoctor.org with exception of the last two paragraphs.