My name is Wade McCrae Washington, AKA Broom Man, AKA Jazzy B. I’m 43 years old. I was born with loose muscle chorea cerebral palsy at birth, but I was diagnosed at 11 months old. They found out I had meningitis. My mom says I was doing everything that a baby should do. I was trying to pull myself up but I never would crawl on my knees. I would always scoot on my butt. My mom said one day I just stopped trying to pull myself up at the age of one. Then, six months later, my parents took me back to the doctor and he said I needed physical therapy. My parents told the doctors that they couldn’t pay for the therapy treatments at the time.
My mom is a LVN nurse so she went to talk to her friend who happens to be a therapist. She showed my mom some treatments for her to try with me. Three months later, my parents and I went back to the doctor for a follow- up visit and he said I was improving little by little. I was about 2 years old and after going through a lot of therapy, my mom said that I was starting to pull up on different things like the edge of the coffee table. Every time I would pull myself up, I would fall down on my butt.
My parents and I went back to the doctor to find out what we can do to build up the strength in my legs and increase my balance. The doctor said that I needed some braces. They might help with those problems. My parents explained to the doctor that they couldn’t afford my braces either. My mom went to talk with her friend for guidance and advice on how to create my first pair of homemade braces. They were made out of four pieces of wood and ace bandages to straighten my legs at night when I was sleeping. I had homemade weights made out of leather material and sand for my ankles as well that I wore during the day. These therapeutic treatments worked because I’m able to stand and walk without any assistance. I’m still working on my balance though. It’s a process for me.
At this time, my mom got her R.N. License. It’s a Registered Nursing License. At the age of three, I started attending a special education center in Louisiana where I started speech and occupational therapy. At the age of four, I started at a school called Jon S. Que Special Education Center in Louisiana where I continued speech and occupational therapy. I’m able to speak really well and the occupational therapy helped me out.
At the age of ten, we moved to Baytown, Texas due to great opportunities for us. At the age of eleven, I tried to participate in the Special Olympics. I didn’t do so well because of my allergies at first. Then, two years later, at the age of twelve, I tried it again and I made the cut in basketball, softball, and track and field. I did well. At the same time, I noticed my body looked differently than everyone else’s that was around me. So, I told my mom this and we went to an orthopedic specialist. I was diagnosed with scoliosis and the doctor explained that my spine had a fifteen degree curve. I was still participating in activities all throughout high school and I graduated in 1991.
In 1992, I decided I wanted to become more independent. So, I moved into an assistant living group home where I learned how to take care of myself better and to maintain my household. They told me I needed to set some goals for myself to achieve in order to be ready to move out on my own into an apartment.
In 1993, I started college at Houston Community College Central Campus Downtown. I met my wife there at the end of 1993. I was watching her for two weeks. I never said anything to her. Then one day, I got the courage to talk to her while I was picking up my roommate. She was sitting outside and I asked her, “What was her name?” She told me. Then, I ran back and forth asking her different questions. She thought it was cute so we became friends for a while. I would always say, “I love you.” She would say, “I hear you.” She didn’t believe in saying I love you unless she meant it.
When we got together, I was in a group home and they did everything in their power to keep us apart. I wanted to get my own apartment. The group home fought hard to keep me sheltered. That is where she came into play. She was giving me the resources on how to survive in the real world. I didn’t like the idea of surviving off of $7.50 a week. This amounted to $30.00 a month. I thought that was wrong that I had to save my money if I wanted to do something for her. We would go to the park or the mall for our dates. She usually had to pay for everything. The more they tried to keep us apart, the closer we got. It took me seven long years after we were together to get free from the group home.
In 2000, we moved into our own place. Thank God for our mom’s support. They were behind us 100%. We love each other. There are no words that can explain it. We have a daughter. Her name is Destiny and she had our granddaughter. Her name is Stori. When my wife’s mom got really sick on her death bed, I promised her mom that I would take care of her daughter. We have been together ever since. It hasn’t been easy, but we hung in there and still going strong. We are getting stronger every day!!!!
I’m very secure with my disabilities because I realized I’m able to do anything I want to when I put my mind and soul into it. I just want everyone in the disabled community to be accepted and loved. My goal is to be the first person with cerebral palsy and scoliosis to become a professional bodybuilder! I want to inspire my friends, world, and you!! We can accomplish anything we want to despite the disabilities or medical conditions we have in life!!!