While other graduates prepare for graduation day, Okmulgee High school graduate Micah (Josh) McDade was preparing for much more. Born with cerebral palsy since birth, McDade has had a lifetime of obstacles, numerous surgeries to overcome and hours upon hours of physical therapy. He never gave up on his path to someday do what comes naturally to most everyone else...walk.
Though he has been told by doctors it may never happen, Micah believes with will, determination and the power of God, all things are possible. On the night of his high school graduation, Micah proved this.
About three years prior Micah made his plan to walk for his diploma. McDade had a muscle reconstructive surgery in August of 2015. After his recovery in December he had just five short months to prepare. Unbeknownst to his friends and classmates, behind the scenes Micah was working harder than ever to achieve his goal and he picked a very poignant day in his life to show the world.
May 20, 2016, Micah was pushed in his wheelchair to the graduation stage in Harmon Stadium. With shock and surprise, his graduating class and the whole audience realized what he was about to attempt. Yes, Micah stepped out onto the stage. The crowds erupted into cheers and applause, there was barely a dry eye in the audience as everyone stood to their feet and cheered Micah on every step of the way. As he made his way to the end of the platform, announcer Craig Brydges said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been doing this a long time - THAT is the best ever!"
Micah said he was proud to make his first walk publicly across the graduation stage that night along with his class of 2016 to accept his high school diploma. "I wasn't nervous, but my adrenaline was pumping. I just focused on walking."
McDade said what he remembers most was the crowd cheering him on.
His parents Mark and Anisa McDade said they couldn't be prouder. They stood that night along with the crowd, with tears of joy streaming from their eyes.
Micah waits contemplating his big feat ahead.
Micah watches his classmates make their way to their seats.
Kendrick McCoy assist Micah McDade off stage.
Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term that refers to a group of disorders affecting a person’s ability to move. It is due to damage to the developing brain either during pregnancy or shortly after birth.
Cerebral palsy affects people in different ways and can affect body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. Although cerebral palsy is a permanent life-long condition, some of these signs of cerebral palsy can improve or worsen over time.
People who have cerebral palsy may also have visual, learning, hearing, speech, epilepsy and intellectual impairments.