COVID survivor embarks on second act

Posted at 6:26 PM, May 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-05 14:52:00-04

(WXYZ) — The Rebound Detroit is about helping you navigate a post-COVID-19 world.

Our goal is to help you work out problems but also inspire you with stories of resilience.

One of those inspirational stories is about a covid survivor who clawed her way through so many challenges to rebound.

In pre-covid times, Debbie Tedrick spent the majority of her day in musical theater as a director and producer who operated hundreds of musical productions across metro Detroit.

But as you’d imagine, when Broadway collapsed in March of last year, so did Debbie’s finances.

“I went down a 100 percent of my income on March 12th- like everything stopped,” she says.

Overnight, six shows in operation came to a screeching halt.

“It was just completely devastating,” she says.

But Debbie didn’t have a moment to cry, because soon she’d have to spend all her time fighting to live.

“Everything would seize and catch, and I couldn’t breathe, and it would freak me out because it felt like I was going to choke to death,” Debbie says.

Debbie was blindsided by a severe case of COVID-19 in the very early days of the pandemic when hospitals were overwhelmed.

“They basically sent me home and said ‘well you’re either going to get better or die’,” she says.

The vocal coach spent three weeks confined to her bed struggling to take in oxygen.

“My husband would come in sometimes just to make sure I was alive,” she says.

And while she would survive the harrowing illness, she wouldn’t sit idle for long.

And living meant sparing no time.

Just steps away from the piano, Debbie introduced me to her new world, a business inspired by her second chance at life called Second Act Soaps N Such.

All of it born out of a passion that up until the pandemic had simply been a hobby.

From soaps to candles, to bath and body products, she has something for everyone.

It wasn’t long before musical theater clients and Facebook friends began to take notice.

“I got overwhelming feedback of like the smells are amazing,” she says.

And the orders began to reflect that sentiment. Since last spring, Second Act sales have grown by 15-20 percent every month.

Some of those orders from customers who told her they simply wanted to support a local business- leaving her filled with emotion.

“A lot of people found me out and helped out and so it was really helpful,” Debbie says. “People who still had their jobs were actively looking for people who lost everything.”

Debbie hasn’t recouped all of her lost income just yet, but it’s the spirit of the community and also the spirit of her parents that she says keeps her going.

“They basically just taught me life is hard, take what it gives you and do your best -- just do your best,” she says.

And today, she is doing her best and living her best life in a second act, that’s already seen its happy ending.

Second Act Soaps N Such will have a display this Mother's Day weekend at Canterbury Village, Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 11am-5pm.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.