Shay was severely burned at the age of eight, with burns and burn-related scarring covering over 65% of his body. As a result of the intense scarring, his right arm became webbed to his side, physically preventing his arm from lifting higher than a 45 degree angle. The right side of Shay’s neck suffered the same webbing effect and was permanently affixed at a 60 degree angle. It took over 3 years of physical therapy, multiple skin graft procedures and the wearing of pressure fitting braces to regain a majority of his mobility. He was initially hospitalized for three months and lost his right ear to gangrene. Shay has incurred over 30 surgeries spanning the last 30 years of his life. He was told it would be extremely challenging to ever play physical sports due to scar tissue and nerve damage suffered.
As testament to his will to succeed, Shay was an All American High School wrestler, 3-time boxing champion in college and is a nationally ranked triathlete. He competed in the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii in 2012, and completed the race in 10 hours and 45 minutes.
Shay says “I believe people are capable of so much more than most achieve and hope that I can inspire others to not become complacent with their life. I believe in leaving behind a legacy and changing the lives of others around me.”
Most importantly, Shay is a happily married father of 5 children under the age of 7!