Messages of support help teen facing long recovery from boating accident

ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - Ashton Yates, 11, of St. Charles is hospitalized after a boating accident that could have killed him.

That was Sunday.

Thus far, his recovery has been as remarkable as his survival.

An outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and strangers, have been fueling him.

Any kid in his spot may think, 'why me?'  It’s the same for Ashton, in a way, but not ‘why did this happen to me?’

It’s more like, ‘why do so many people care about me?’

He and his mother cried in his room at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Wednesday.

You might guess it was the sheer pain of his wounds or the sheer sadness of what had happened.

You’d be wrong.

The GoFundMe accounts, prayers, and a mountain of his favorite candy, Kit Kats, had overwhelmed the young man.

“It’s OK,” said his mother Blair, crying, and kissing her son.  “Look at all the love.  It’s just coming from everywhere.”

It started coming Sunday, after Ashton accidentally fell from a pontoon boat on Pinnacle lake, in Montgomery County, Missouri.

He dove deep to avoid the propeller but it still caught parts of his legs and wrist, slicing muscles, nerves, and tendons.  He had to be airlifted to St. Louis Children’s Hospital where messages of support have helped overcome the horror of his terrible wounds.

“I read them to Ashton,” his mom said.  “It’s what helps us when we are down or it’s quiet and we don’t want silence.”

“He’s just tough,” said his father, Brian.  “He doesn’t let it beat his spirits down.  He’s really kept a great attitude through all of this, not the ‘why me?’”

“I’m just thankful for everybody just being there for me,” he said.

Brooke miller/patient care tech:  “He always tells me ‘thank you,’” said hospital patient care technician, Brooke Miller.  “He always gives me hugs, such a sweet kid.  You have favorites on the floor.  He’s the room I like to sneak into,” she beamed.

A pair of gift bags marked, “From:  Ted and Peggy …  To:  the toughest 11-year-old I have ever met” arrived.  They were full of candy, snacks, a handheld video game, and a St. Louis Blues Cap.

They brought a smile stronger to Ashton’s face, stronger than tears, even though no one could place the names “Ted & Peggy”, at first.

“Everyone’s prayers and gifts and love mean so much to me and my family,” his mom said.

He's had surgeries to clean his wounds, reattach muscles and tendons.  A severed nerve in his leg is his biggest remaining hurdle.

As for "Ted and Peggy", it turns out they're the kind strangers who gave Ashton's mom and brothers a ride, after he and his dad left in the helicopter.

A GoFundMe has been set-up for Ashton Yates, if you want to contribute to his recovery.