Round Rock man in prolonged hospital stay receives outpouring of support from community

Terry Johnston was born with a curvature in his spine, which caused him to be paralyzed from the waist down. 

After a complicated surgery, he's been in hospital care for about 17 months.

"There have been points where I've been like, 'what am I doing here?" said Johnston "Why, you know? Lord, just take me kind of thing."

TJ eventually moved into a room at Cornerstone Specialty Hospital in Round Rock in January.

"He was just not coming out of this really depressive state being in here for nine months, every day by himself except for his brother and I," said Melissa Strong Jackson, TJ’s mom.


Most days his room is quiet.

"It's hard when you don't have anybody, and he doesn't have anybody, and you think 'where are these people?’" said Jackson.

Jackson posted to Facebook, desperate for a visitor.

Hundreds of comments and about a dozen guests later, the people TJ’s mom was looking for showed up.

"Support is everything," said Amanda Mayes, an old friend on TJ’s. "You can only do so much on your own. Like I said earlier, it's hard sometimes to ask for help because I think it's a prideful thing in us, but her reaching out has made such a difference in her world, his world, our worlds." 

Visitors are bringing in snacks, coffee, Astros gifts galore, and even haircuts.


"I just heard a mom that was in need, and that's what community is called to do," said Tabitha Dowell, who’s visiting TJ.

Each person also offered a reason to smile.

"Laughter and happiness and knowing that someone actually cares has meant everything," said Jackson.

For TJ, every stranger who walks through his door will leave as a friend.

"It means the world to me," said Johnston. "Like, you guys, you don't know how much of a mental toughness you've put on my head, and I hope to spend many years of friendship with each of you." 

TJ's mom said he has a long road to recovery before he can finally go home.

They are still accepting visitors. You can contact them at