CLEVELAND — It has been more than a decade since Darrick Wade’s son, Demetrius died, but the pain still hasn’t faded for Wade.
“One of the things that bothers me most is the helplessness. As a father, I watched my son from a toddler be ill until he was 24,” said Wade.
Demetrius passed in 2007 from complications of lead poisoning. The family lived in Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority in the 90s. Wade said his son’s poisoning, just started as aggressive outbursts. He didn’t know Demetrius was poisoned, until he was 9 years old.
“I watched him grow. I watched him struggle,” he said.
Eventually, those struggles turned into liver, kidney and heart issues. He died at just 24.
Wade made it his mission to make sure no other child suffered.
“It tugged at my soul so hard I couldn’t let it go,” he said.
He filed a class action lawsuit against CMHA in 1992 on behalf of the children living there. Hundreds of children were tested as a result of Wade’s lawsuit.
But Wade insists, even decades after doctor’s first diagnosed Demetrius, that more needs to be done.
“I think something has to be concrete, where it’s consistently moving towards lead being removed from all of the houses,” said Wade. “It’s going to take years to put something like that together, but we have to start.