Paralyzed man continues recovery years after accident, looks to help others

Image 1 of 5

Drew Clayborn and his dad, Ledon, are real-life superheroes.

FOX 2 first met them nearly 10 years ago when Drew broke his neck practicing a back flip for a high school musical at Walled Lake Central. He was just 15 years old and paralyzed from the neck down.

"It takes moments like this, to know just how many people actually love you," said Drew at the time. Drew is now 24. "As easy as it might seem - it really is a fight on a daily basis," he said.

But this family has never stopped fighting. Drew went back to his high school and played in the marching band. He then went to college, lived on campus and graduated from the University of Michigan.

Now he's running the family's nonprofit, The Drew Crew.

"I couldn't be prouder of the fact that he's finally taking over The Drew Crew," said Ledon Clayborn, his father.

But there's something else to be proud of as well - Drew's health. Nearly 10 years in to his injury, his muscles are strong his bone density is perfect. His blood pressure is the same way.

"We've really made a strong focus to keep my body healthy and prepare for the day I can walk again," Drew said.

He's got his strength with the help of at-home therapies like a quadricisor, as well as electro-stimulation that's exercising his muscles as if he's doing crunches, squats or leg lifts. It's been so successful Drew says he's starting to feel sensations - actual pain - for the first time in nine years.

"Midway down my neck I felt an electric shock, like I was getting poked with a Taser," said Drew. "When you start to regain feeling, it hurts. It's almost like a barrier being broken and now the signals are getting through."

Signals, a sort of Morse Code, that for Drew spells out hope.

"All of these new feelings and new growth, gives me reason to be hopeful," he said. "[That] I'm going in the right direction and I will be able to one day use it, move it, and get back to walking."

| MORE: Paralyzed college student asking for donations for new disability van

But right now there is other work to do - prepare for the upcoming Drew Crew Golf Scramble.

Whatever is raised above and beyond to help Drew will help others. Maybe it'll be a deposit on their own quadricisor; maybe it will be enough money to help them launch their own golf scramble. The important thing is to not only help, but to inspire other people in situations like Drew's.

"Through our nonprofit, we can make sure that money goes to a therapy, or transportation, or ramps or technology," Ledon said.

And with Drew now running the nonprofit, he's excited to share his experience and make a difference.

"It's always been my goal during this whole process to pass along and pay it forward," he said. "That's what motivates me. Knowing that there's others in my situation who could benefit from what I know and what I've done over the years."

The 8th Annual Charity Golf Scramble for The Drew Crew is 1p.m. July 21 in Commerce Township. For more information, go to