Air date: December 12, 2013
Drew Clayborn was 15 when everything changed. An athlete and an actor, he tried a backflip for a school musical. He woke up in the hospital, paralyzed with a spinal cord injury. But even then, there was something indomitable about Drew. Drew: I was writing an essay for English and uh my initial reaction was that I would have more time to write the essay Mitch Albom: You saw this as an opportunity to gain a little time for your homework? Drew: Yup (laughing) Since then, he’s graduated, got into U of M, and is studying bioinformatics as well as Mandarin Chinese. Instead of self-pity, he sees his accident as an opportunity. Drew: One thing that I would like to do when I graduate is cure a major illness and just always want to help people. The Drew Crew is a group formed by Drew’s family to help defray the enormous annual costs of his care — more than 40 thousand a year. But he hopes things like his 5k run — which he recently finished himself – will be inspirational. If you’re wondering why he cares so much about others? Drew: Once you are in this situation I uh you are brought into more situations where you see other people uh that are in pain or hurting Mitch Albom: Are you a more sensitive person as a result of this? Drew: I think I was pretty sensitive before (laughing) Drew, who does four hours of therapy a day, operates computers and his wheelchair with his mouth and special technology. But his smile is his most impressive accessory. Mitch Albom: You seem pretty happy Drew: I’d say so (laughing) Mitch Albom: Some people would find that strange Drew: (laughing) They just have to experience it. Experience all the love that is around them and I couldn’t be unhappy. I know I am going to walk again one day. Uh it is just a matter of when. Whether it is medicine or just a miracle I am confident I will walk again. Mitch Albom: Do you believe in miracles? Drew: I do. I see them every day You have a feeling you’re seeing one when you look at Drew Clayborn. His body may be broken, but his spirit is intact, and it marches forward courageously in the heart of Detroit.