LEIXNGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A 21-year-old from Stanton is becoming an inspiration in her town and beyond.
Kayla Lacy was recently crowned Miss Wheelchair Kentucky 2023. It's how she approaches some of her physical limitations that has her overcoming obstacles.
"I just do everything that I did before just in a new way," said Lacy.
It's a new way, but still the same old Kayla.
"I spent 31 days in the ICU," she said. "And most of those days, I didn't think I was going to make it."
At Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital, Lacy is making it. It's not always easy physically, but saying no isn't an option.
"I told them, basically, just watch me," she said. "Because I'm going to overcome this. One way or another."
"It might be a little wiggle of a toe or a little wiggle of a finger but to us, that's inspiration because she's not giving up," said Lonnie Morgan, Kayla's stepdad. "I treat her like a daughter, love her like my own daughter."
Memorial Day weekend, Morgan's connection with God became a relationship.
"God if you'll save her, I'll talk to you every day for the rest of my life and I've talked to him ever since," Morgan recalls saying.
"I dove into the shallow end of a pool and I shattered my C5 vertebrae sending it straight into my spinal cord," Lacy said. "And from that moment, I was paralyzed from the chest down."
Recently, Lacy was crowned Miss Wheelchair Kentucky. An honor she says she was shocked about, and was focused on meeting people versus actually winning. The crown gives her a new, inspirational approach.
"Anything you're struggling with, you can overcome that no matter what the circumstances are," she said.
"Everybody didn't think she had a chance at doing anything but laying in a bed," Morgan said. "That's the furthest thing we've seen."
"If I can live through the pain daily, I can do anything I set my mind to do," Lacy said.
Her mind is most definitely set.
"She may have a few physical limitations, but that's the same Kayla," Morgan said.
A few physical limitations, but cue inspiration and sky's the limit.