Most students hate waking up early to go to school, but at least most of them don’t have to wake up at 5 a.m. to get ready for class.
However, that’s the reality for Walled Lake Central High School senior Drew Clayborn, who became paralyzed from the shoulders down after breaking his neck while practicing a backflip for Central’s spring musical last year.
“He went from playing football, basketball and tuba in the marching band to being a quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair and a ventilator in a matter of seconds,” said Drew’s father, LeDon Clayborn.
However, almost a year and a half later, Drew is taking a full load of classes as a senior and playing the synthesizer with the Walled Lake Central marching band, with which he attended band camp this year.
Meanwhile, Drew is continuing to go through intensive rehabilitation at DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan in Novi to remain as healthy as possible and to regain as much movement as possible.
However, insurance will only cover so much of the cost and as such, a spaghetti dinner and family fun day will be held to help raise money for his medical costs on Sunday, Sept. 25 at the Multi-Lakes Conservation Association at 3860 Newton Road in Commerce Township.
The fund-raiser will include a lot of activities for children, including picnic games and a bounce castle, while a DJ and live band will provide entertainment.
An auction full of one-of-a-kind items will feature items such as a stay at a vacation home in Marco Island, Fla., and a ladies’ spa day.
The dinner will be sponsored by Aleko’s Carry Out and Catering of Commerce Township.
There will also be cake at the event, because the day will also be a chance for the community to celebrate Drew’s birthday, which is the following day, on Monday, Sept. 26.
According to Tracie Nichols, who is the director of the Drew Crew and Drew’s father’s fiance, the support of the community has been very helpful.
“Drew is an amazing child and young adult,” she said. We can’t even describe the importance of the support of the community and what they do for us,” she said. “LeDon always asks people to continue to P.U.S.H. — Pray Until Something Happens. And we are absolutely confident something will happen.”
The proceeds of the fund-raiser will go towards purchasing physical therapy equipment such as a Stim bike and a electrical stimulation therapy suit — the same suit Christopher Reeve used — to help maintain Drew’s muscle mass and keep him healthy.
The cost of the spaghetti dinner is $10 per person. For more information, go to www.thedrewcrew.org.