Parents of Selkirk’s ‘Smiling Warrior’ Thea campaign for life-changing trip

The parents of a battling two-year-old lass from Selkirk are fundraising for what could be a life-changing trip to America.

By Kevin Janiak
Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 10:11 am
Thea Hay, with her parents Jack Hay and Kasey Watson.
Thea Hay, with her parents Jack Hay and Kasey Watson.

Wee Thea Hay was born with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, a condition where there is a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain, which resulted in severe brain damage.

Thea, now aged two – described by her parents Kasey Watson and Jack Hay as their “smiling warrior” – has fought through epilepsy, dystonia (muscle spasms) and high tone and spasticity in her muscles.

Although she hasn’t yet been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Kasey and Jack have been told that possibility is very likely.

Thea Hay, with her parents Jack Hay and Kasey Watson.

The loving parents have been going all-out to ensure Thea can have as good and independent a life as possible and have researched several possibilities.

Thea recently completed a seven-day course in Perth called “Walk this Way”, in which she completed exercises such as core strengthening and balance-saving techniques.

Kasey, who is 22, said: “Thea did really well throughout the course, working two hours a day for the seven days.

“Her teacher Charli believes she will be independent given the right tools, as she already has the determination and potential in her.

“We are booked back in at end of January for more work with Thea.

“However, we found out about the Neurological and Physical Abilitation (NAPA) Centre in Los Angeles, USA, and it’s quite clear that they will offer Thea her best possible chance.

“They can provide numerous therapies such as speech, physiotherapy, occupational and other specialist treatments.

“The centre would assess Thea and decide which intensive program would be best for her.

“It is double the hours, making this an intense programme, but also giving her more time for her to enhance her skills. We believe this would be life-changing therapy for Thea and would give her a greater chance at a more independent life.”

However, the costs involved in the three-to-four week trip are large.

Kasey added: “This is why we have decided to try to raise money for Just4Children to help our little fighter.

“The therapy alone for four hours a day, five days a week, over the three weeks costs roughly £6,000.

“Then, there are costs for flights, accommodation and other expenses, such as transfers to the centre.

“This has been a hard decision to fundraise but we feel that Thea would greatly benefit from the NAPA programme.”

The charity Just4Children helps families just like Thea’s to relieve sickness and preserve good physical and mental health in children, by providing and assisting in the provision of services and grants to enable them to obtain their medical needs.

The family has already raised some money on social media, and through raffles, and have launched a Just Giving page, with a target of £25,000.

So far, they have raised just over £2,500.

Friend of the family, Roxanne Port, told us: “This family really is incredible and both Kasey and Jack are a real inspiration, as well as Thea who is a fighter and deserves to get the best chance at life she can.

“They are so inspiring, what they are doing for their daughter.

“If you can donate, or even just share their story on social media, it could make all the difference.”

To donate, click here.