Drew Frakes is a jokester. Just a few minutes with him and you’re bound to hear him crack a joke or laugh about something. You’ll also learn that he’s an avid athlete–having spent nearly 30 years running, racing bikes, racing triathlons, and working in the cycling industry. More than anything, however, Drew loves supporting the athletic community–which is why the pandemic was so difficult.
“It was a tough couple of years for me, as it was for everyone.” said Drew. “I had just started to work with Achilles International as a guide for runners with visual impairment–where I met many incredible people including some people from Wiggle Your Toes. Of course, Wiggle Your Toes is an amazing organization and I couldn’t help but join in with them–so my community grew even more. But then, the pandemic just shut everything down.” Indeed, the pandemic did shut everything down. But it had an even stronger impact on the disabled community than the greater population, and Drew recognized that.
THE MAGNIFIED IMPACT OF THE PANDEMIC ON THE DISABLED COMMUNITY
According to one of the largest academic studies on the mental health health of people with disabilities in America during COVID-19, APA PsychNet® published research indicated “magnified stress and trauma for people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, as compared to others in the general population.” This is due to many reasons, some of which include increased isolation to prevent impact on preexisting health issues, financial hardship, smaller support systems, and more. Given that “26 percent, or 1 in 4, of adults in the United States have some type of disability,” (CDC) this large group of Americans has struggled harder and found it more difficult to return to normalcy after the pandemic–which is one reason why Drew became so impassioned to support the Twin Cities Area Mobility Clinic when it launched in late 2021, after pandemic restrictions were lifted.
FROM INDIVIDUALISM TO PARTNERSHIP–AND A MORE FULFILLING LIFE
From day one–Drew Frakes has shown up to nearly every clinic event to simply be part of our community. Which is always impressive, yet not uncommon for clinic volunteers. “The reward from a winter’s worth of Sunday mornings was huge. During the first few clinics, I became fast friends with Dave Sandvik, a great guy with a unilateral above-the-knee amputation,” said Drew.