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 Commerce Township resident LeDon Clayborn is pictured with his son, Drew. LeDon has organized bottle drives to help raise funds to fight paralysis.

Commerce Township resident LeDon Clayborn is pictured with his son, Drew. LeDon has organized bottle drives to help raise funds to fight paralysis.

Photo provided by Drew Clayborn


Bottle drives support local resident with paralysis

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published June 18, 2020

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COMMERCE TOWNSHIP — More than 10 years have passed since Commerce Township resident LeDon Clayborn got a life-changing phone call.

On March 26, 2010, LeDon accepted a call from his daughter, Desirae. He said she was “incoherent.”

What LeDon was able to get from the call is that “it was Drew, and I needed to get there right away.”

LeDon’s son, Drew, had been in an accident at Walled Lake Central High School.

Drew had been attempting to learn a back flip for a high school musical he was a part of during his sophomore year.

He was “goofing around” with some friends in the hallway when the accident happened.

Drew was observed at DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital before being airlifted to the University of Michigan Hospital.

After seeing the condition his son was in, LeDon said he was in a state of shock.

Drew was paralyzed from the shoulders down.

He is now 25 years old, and according to LeDon, needs 24-hour care and nurses around the clock.

“It’s hard, as a parent,” LeDon said. “I’m blessed; I still have my son. … Most people, when they break their neck the way (he) did, don’t live. … But you never get closure. … He still has the exact same needs as he had the day he came home 10 years ago.”

Prior to the accident, Drew played football and basketball, was in a guitar club and was part of Walled Lake Central’s marching band.

He said he was very goal-oriented prior to his accident, and that afterwards, he maintains a “pretty motivated mindset.”

“It’s helped,” Drew said. “I was never depressed. I never was sad about my situation. I always had something to look at as a goal. It gave me something else to focus on.”

One of Drew’s goals was to attend U-M, where he went on to get a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 2017.

Both Drew and his dad have been helped in their journey by the support of others, including financial support.

One of the latest sources of support has been via bottle drives.

Those interested in donating bottles to assist Drew can drop them off between noon and 2 p.m. and 5 and 7 p.m., Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at Orchard Grove Community Church, 850 Ladd Road, Building A, in Walled Lake.

Pickups can also be arranged in some cases. For more information, call or text (248) 761-5000.

Drew is also active with a nonprofit that helps raise money for paralyzed individuals.

For more information, visit the drewcrew.org.

“I don’t have the motivation to do all this for myself,” Drew said. “It’s mainly so I can help other people to do the things that I do. … Our whole thing is getting people back to (an) independent lifestyle.”

Drew’s battle can help serve as motivation for others.

“He grew into who he is today, which (is) a grown man who happens to be a quadriplegic, with a full life and a good life,” LeDon said. “I did everything I could to make sure that stayed the same. We raised money, we worked hard.”

LeDon shared some words of advice for other parents of paralyzed children.

“You have to be what you hope they strive to be, which is positive, hopeful and determined,” he said. “Inspire them to be the best they can possibly be every day, and don’t let them ever feel like they have any limitations.”

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