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SC Community Leader Pushes Forward in Face of Brain Surgery

By December 14, 2023No Comments

In the heart of South Carolina, a story of resilience and determination unfolds within the walls of the Automotive Service Assistance (ASA) – a beacon of community support founded on the values of service and the indomitable spirit of Kayla Williams, its co-founder and Executive Director. Alongside her co-founder, Board Chair, and mother, Christene Laird, Kayla has been the driving force behind ASA, an organization dedicated to ensuring that no individual’s mobility is hindered by financial constraints. ASA is the first in the nation to do what they do; provide funding for automotive repair and maintenance on a sliding scale fee based on income and automotive education to the community. The mother-daughter duo, bound by their shared passion for community service, has been steering this non-profit towards alleviating transportation hardships faced by many in South Carolina with dreams of one day having locations in every state.

Kayla’s journey has been marked by personal trials that mirror the challenges faced by those she aims to help. Last year, Kayla underwent brain surgery, after losing the ability to walk, to combat a Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia causing Intracranial Hypertension. It was in the wake of this diagnosis Kayla, with the unwavering support of Christy and her husband, decided to live her dream of starting ASA. She is pushed forward by a belief that life is unpredictable and if we wait too long we may never get to live out our purpose or dreams.

“No more waiting, life is too short, and fear is the only thing holding us back from doing what we want to do to help our community.” ~ Kayla

The recent, and unexpected, news of Kayla’s condition progressing, necessitating another surgery just before the holiday season, has not dampened her spirit. If anything, it has fueled her commitment to the mission of ASA. Despite facing a craniectomy in just two weeks and possible spinal cord surgery, Kayla has been instrumental in preparing her team for the challenge, coordinating efforts to ensure that ASA’s work continues seamlessly in her absence.

It is this tenacity and selflessness that defines Kayla’s leadership. She remains a volunteer at the helm of ASA, investing her time and energy into a cause that reflects her deepest values. “I am not letting this stop me and I will work hard for my job and my community until my surgery and then I will focus on recovering because I know the more I focus on healing myself, the faster I can get back to my purpose in life and THIS is my purpose.”

ASA, still in its early stages, has already made significant strides under Kayla’s guidance. The organization’s Adopt-a-Family program is a testament to its impact, offering hope and support to families facing transportation barriers. Kayla’s vision for ASA is expansive – she dreams of extending the nonprofit’s reach across the entire state and eventually the entire country, ensuring that no one’s access to healthcare, education, employment, or daily essentials is compromised due to lack of transportation.

Kayla’s story and her work with ASA are not just narratives of personal and organizational triumph but are emblematic of the collective power of community spirit. As Kayla faces her upcoming surgery with optimism, she and Christy call on the community to rally around ASA’s mission. It is their hope that through increased awareness and support, ASA will continue to grow and serve as a lifeline for many more within South Carolina.

For Kayla, her bucket list is unusual; it does not seek personal adventure but rather fulfillment through service. “My dream is to see this grow before I pass,” she shares, her words echoing the passion that fuels her every day.

As Kayla Williams and ASA look to the future, they stand as a reminder that even in the face of life’s toughest challenges, the human spirit can drive change, inspire action, and, most importantly, unite a community in the journey toward a common goal.

For more information on Kayla, Christy, and the work of Automotive Service Assistance, or to contribute to their mission and current efforts, please visit

A GoFundMe has been set up for Kayla and her family by long-time family friend Rachel Brown-Shelton and can be seen here:

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