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Pandemic won’t stop Walled Lake family from raising money to help others

Nonprofit uses donations of returnable bottles and can to raise money

WALLED LAKE, Mich. – The coronavirus pandemic has put so many fundraisers on hold with some cancelled all together, but for one Walled Lake family used it as an opportunity.

Drew Clayborn is paralyzed from the shoulders down. He broke his neck attempting to do a back flip in his sophomore year of high school. He’s focused on helping others with spinal cord injuries and his family refuses to let COVID-19 stop them.

Every drop off of cans and bottles gets Clayborn and his Drew Crew closer to their goal.

“I’ve never been about myself, it’s always been what I can do for someone else,” Clayborn said. “After my injury, it’s hard for me to do for others and I always have people doing for me.”

But he has found a way to help others -- and all the cans and bottles donated are making it happen. The Drew Crew is a nonprofit that raises money so others with spinal cord injuries can live a more independent lifestyle.

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“It is possible to keep living life, to still be apart of life, to still be a person within life and not just be a medical burden on society,” Clayborn said.

But with the pandemic, the Drew Crew saw no safe way to hold their annual fundraising golf tournament. That’s when a text came in with an idea -- why not collect bottles and cans?

“Within about 72 hours, we went about that collection to maybe $5-600 at our house,” said LeDon Clayborn. “We don’t have a garage, they were all outside and needed to be tarped. I looked at my wife and ‘Well, we can’t keep them here. Maybe we should get a storage.’”

Orchard Grove Community Church in Walled Lake gave them a space to keep collecting.

With less than a week to go -- the Drew Crew is trying to reach one million cans.

“It’s so easy to forget there is more good out here than bad. People from all walks of life, different colors, creeds, communities all calling, all donating and all sending best to Drew and be a part of what he is trying to do,” LeDon Clayborn said.

The Drew Crew has until Sunday to reach their million can goal.

You can still drop off your cans at Orchard Grove Community Church Thursday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

More information can be found on the official website here.


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