It began as a happy occasion for Troy and Tomi Kay Shaw.
The Washington C.H. couple were vacationing in Daytona Beach, Florida, celebrating their wedding anniversary and Tomi Kay’s birthday.
They decided to go out to the sandbar in the ocean when a riptide struck and took Troy and Tomi Kay out into deeper water.
After struggling to survive, they finally made it back to the beach.
At that point, Tomi Kay’s heart stopped and she has been hospitalized since that day, Sept. 10.
Tomi Kay has been in a coma since that time and she is currently in the Cleveland Metro Medical Center.
Two of her great nephews, Mason (eighth grade) and Gavin (seventh grade) Coffman, both members of the Washington Blue Lion Middle School football teams, led a prayer for Mrs. Shaw after the seventh grade game against Miami Trace Tuesday night at Gardner Park.
“Tomi and Troy are super private,” their niece, Meagan Coffman, said. “Troy knows that people know what has happened and that they are praying for Tomi and he’s grateful for the prayers.
“Last Wednesday (Sept. 18) a vigil was organized in the evening,” Coffman said. “A few pastors led that and informed the public about what was going on. She arrived at Cleveland Metro last Wednesday.
“They were at the beach and decided to go the sandbar,” Coffman said. “They went into the water and got caught in a riptide. They didn’t know there were riptides happening, but there were. There were a bunch. She was one of three people it happened to that day, a near drowning. She is one of three people who are hospitalized.
“Mason and Gavin and some of their teammates (on the Washington seventh and eighth grade football teams) are writing #TomiStrong on their arms and they are playing for her,” Coffman said. “They dedicated a game two weeks ago, also.”
There is a Go Fund Me page to help with Mrs. Shaw’s medical expenses. The family hoped to raise at least $20,000 and so far, $30,410 has been raised.
If any individual or business would like to help the Shaw family, they can go to www.gofundme.com and type in Tomi Kay Shaw and make a donation.
“For anyone who wants to contribute, that would be absolutely helpful to Troy,” Coffman said. “They are down to one salary. Troy hasn’t been working. R & L has been graciously paying him. Thankfully, he’s still getting a check. They only have one paycheck now.”
Mrs. Shaw works in the medical records department of the Fayette County Memorial Hospital.
“First, I want to say that my family and I are very grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers we have received in this time of need,” Coffman said in remarks at last week’s vigil.
“Please continue to pray for her complete and miraculous healing,” Coffman said. “We believe in God’s power and His healing touch and we believe that through your prayers that God will touch her and that she will rise up.
“The family is trying very hard to be strong,” Coffman said. “Troy is grateful for his employer who is still providing him with his salary, which is a blessing. He is overwhelmed by the support from the community and people he doesn’t even know. He’s very grateful and he doesn’t know how he’s ever going to repay everyone. He’s very, very thankful.”
The Shaws have four sons, Tyler, Spencer, Riley and Cameron, two granddaughters and two more grandchildren on the way.
Local sports fans and followers of the Washington Blue Lions will remember that Riley Shaw was a two-time State wrestling champion and wrestled for four years at Cleveland State University.