Summary: He had a bilateral hemorrhagic stroke in his brain, and it took him weeks to learn how to eat, talk, and walk again. Medical experts at the time determined that he was completely, totally, and permanently disabled. Amid this health issue, he also faced divorce and was separated from his daughter.
After years of part-time jobs, Andrew was accepted into a graduate program at Missouri State University. Nearing the completion of his Master of Science in Counseling degree, MSU expelled him from the program because he would not counsel same-gender couples.
His case was taken by Thomas More Society. Andrew and MSU were ordered to mediation and what MSU offered to pay was a mere portion of his actual bills.
Andrew is now attending Liberty University to complete his Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree. Since only one course transferred from MSU, he basically had to start over.
Andrew needs our help. Although he has exceeded his medical prognosis and works a few part-time jobs, he has enormous debt from medical, legal, school, and utility bills. Will you help Andrew by donating? If you cannot donate money, please pray for him and his journey.
You can read his full story here:
Andrew Cash (f.k.a. “Sandy”) graduated from Harding University in 1993. At the age of 32 he was diagnosed as having a large tumor behind his right eye. Along with his wife, he went to Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis for surgery. Around 2:00 am the following morning he became unresponsive. His brain was hemorrhaging in two areas. He was having a bilateral hemorrhagic stroke. The doctors decided to do immediate surgery to remove the clot that kept Andrew from getting oxygen and blood flow to the brain. He was put in a medically induced coma and put on life support. Several days later, uncertain if he would live or what kind of state he would be in or if the brain would begin hemorrhaging again, they decided to revive him. He spent the next 6 weeks learning how to eat, talk, and walk again. After several weeks in the hospital, he was able to go home, dependent on his wife to meet his daily needs.
These traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) were profound and long-lasting. Although Andrew had made substantial gains in activity and mobility, he did not have the emotional or cognitive capacity to resume his career as Campus Minister and Director of the Christian Student Center at Missouri State University for East Sunshine Church of Christ in Springfield, MO. After nearly two years of attempting to find work, it was recommended that Andrew seek services through Missouri Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. He was referred to the School of Psychology at University of Missouri for a battery of tests, observation, assessments, and interviewing. Their final report recommended that Andrew seek benefits for Social Security Disability. A medical board of experts agreed with their conclusions and determined Andrew to be completely, totally, and permanently disabled.
Very shortly after receiving this news, Andrew's wife separated from him and directed him to move out of their home and away from his 1-year old daughter. With nowhere to go, his former employer, East Sunshine Church of Christ, got Andrew into a hotel and later found him an apartment. They paid his bills and provided for his daily needs from their food pantry.
Andrew was resilient and determined. Two years and nine months after nearly dying, he began to work again. He took on several part-time jobs: working at Preferred Family Healthcare, working at a convenience store, and mowing yards. During this time he also applied for—and was accepted—into the Master of Science in Counseling program at Missouri State University, which he began in January of 2007, just weeks after his divorce was final.
Andrew took two courses per semester, and his cognitive limitations were stretched beyond description. What is scientifically and medically called neuroplasticity—the capacity of neurons and neural networks in the brain to change their connections and behavior in response to new information, sensory stimulation, development, damage, or dysfunction—nothing could better describe his improvement as anything less than remarkable. Andrew had far exceeded his prognosis.
He completed his coursework with a 3.81 GPA and started his first semester of internship at Springfield Marriage and Family Institute (SMFI) in 2014. One student complained to the department’s Internship Coordinator that Andrew would not counsel same-gender couples due to his conviction and belief that God’s design for couples and marriage relationship are to be between a man and a woman. The internship coordinator directed Andrew to stop his internship and was to report to her immediately. She asked Andrew if he would counsel same-gender couples. He responded that although he would offer counseling services individually, he stated that he believed in God’s design and the Biblical description of marriage and couple relationship between a man and a woman. She then recommended to the department head that Andrew be considered for expulsion from the program. A committee of faculty members was formed to determine the punishment for Andrew: either go through remediation-reparative therapy and change his views of traditional relationships or be expelled from the program. Although he had made substantial recovery, this event was emotionally devastating.
With the help of Alliance Defending Freedom, Andrew appealed this decision to the department head, the Dean of the School of Education, and the Office of the Provost. He was denied at each level. Andrew agreed to retake two courses he had already received an “A” in. He had to write an essay on the legal implications of refusing to counsel same-sex couples. He was also directed to go to 10 counseling sessions to address his counter-transference “reparative therapy” issues.
You can read more of Andrew’s situation from Fox News and Focus on the Family:
After eight weeks the department head informed Andrew that he would not be finishing the program and dismissed him from the program. Andrew reached out to a few law firms that defended religious freedom. Thomas More Society, a nationally based public interest law firm, contacted Andrew and filed a civil complaint again MSU.
You can read more about the complaint here:
Press Release: Thomas More Society
Andrew and MSU were ordered to mediation. After spending a day in mediation, MSU offered him $25,000—an amount that would cover the tuition for a similar degree at another institution. However, due to two+ years of lost income, huge legal expenses, and school loans, $25,000 did not come close to Andrew’s financial burden.
Andrew was determined to go to trial and recoup his losses, expenses, loans, and other damages. His attorney advised him that this could take up to two years to litigate and there was no guarantee he would win in a jury trial. Since the judge assigned to the case did not share Andrew’s views, Andrew decided it was in his best interests to end this nightmare and move on towards his heart’s desire to be a Professional Counselor and Marriage & Family Therapist.
In March of 2020 Andrew was accepted into the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Because of the length of time Andrew spent in appealing and litigation, and due to age limitations in course transferring between programs, only one of his courses would transfer.
Andrew has to start over again. The amount he received from Missouri State University did not come close to covering his expenses. He has had to borrow thousands upon thousands of dollars to help finance his way through school for living expenses, attorney’s fees, and other expenses.
To help make ends meet, Andrew works 2 part-time jobs and mows lawns. However, his vehicle was totaled by someone running a red light and his lawn equipment and trailer were stolen.
Andrew needs our help! Whatever you can give will be a blessing. Thank you so much for your consideration and your prayers!
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