Thomas 'pushing forward,' eyeing road to recovery

Apr. 23—ASHLAND — A mother of a teen who was involved in a serious car accident is beyond grateful for the support and prayers from community members.

Tay Thomas, 16, a junior at Ashland Blazer, was in a car accident early Sunday morning (April 14) that resulted in the young adult being flown to Nationwide Children's Hospital. Cassie Menshouse, mother to Thomas, is in awe over the enormous support from people across the tri-state area.

"I thank them all, it's amazing how a community has come together. It's amazing how they all have cared for my son," she said.

"A thanks is not a lot," Menshouse added.

Multiple area schools have sent in letters filling a wall inside the hospital room and providing encouragement for Thomas, Menshouse said.

"It was amazing, letters came from Poage, Charles Russell, Oakview and Fairview. ... The outpouring love and care and support for one person is stunning. You can't put it into words," she said.

Thomas was "down a little bit" Friday (April 19) and Saturday (April 20), but his mother said his friends came up Sunday and they were all playing games and being their "goofy selves."

"It brought him back to reality a little bit. Regardless he is still going to have his friends and he's still going to be No. 1," she said, referring to his football jersey number.

"He is strong-willed, strong-headed and whatever happens, I am sure he will be fine with it. ... He is very smart, very talented and he is selfless. People's feelings mean more to him than his own feelings; he's perfect," Menshouse said describing her son.

As of Monday (April 22), Thomas remains at Nationwide Children's Hospital where physical therapy has begun, Menshouse said. Thomas has no feeling from the belly button down, but every day that goes by, the hopes of her son walking again rise.

"When we go home, he will more than likely be in a wheelchair for some time. We are just waiting for feeling to come back to see where we go from there. He's pushing forward. His goal of course is to walk, but we will see when we get there. He's not backing down from anything, he's pushing with everything he's got," she said.

"If he does have to stay in a wheelchair, he wants a fast one," she added.

Recalling the night of the accident, Menshouse said it was the "scariest" thing to happen in her life.

"I was in bed and woke up to little girls banging on my door telling me my son could not feel his legs, was in a wreck and at Cabell. All I kept thinking was 'please, let my baby be alive,'" she said.

"It was very frightening, scariest thing ever," she added.

A "Support Tay's Journey to Recovery" GoFundMe account has brought in $13,401 from 289 donations as of Tuesday at 3 p.m.

(606) 326-2657 —