Struggling family turns to community for help



STEPHENVILLE (March 16, 2016) – The lives of Shanae and Patrick Wallace and their two young children took a turn for the worse on February 1. Patrick, driving the family’s automobile, sideswiped a telephone pole on South First Street in Stephenville. Upon impact, the telephone pole snapped in half and fell on top of the car, seriously injuring Patrick. More than a month later, he remains at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

“He had a brain bleed on the left side of his brain,” Shanae said, adding her husband was unconscious when emergency responders arrived at the scene. “He was on life support for a week. He still doesn’t have full function on the left side of his body. He has some motor function in his hand but not his arm. He cannot walk and suffered some brain damage and memory loss.”


Less than a month after the accident, Patrick was expected to return home, but he stopped breathing February 23 and required additional medical care.

“Patrick had to have a tracheotomy, so he now has a breathing tube and a feeding tube going to his stomach,” Shanae said, adding that a caseworker is currently attempting to find home health and rehabilitation services that Patrick’s insurance will approve.

He is expected to come home in the next two weeks.   

Meanwhile Shanae, who is struggling to make ends meet, is concerned the family’s residence is in jeopardy.  Caring for her husband and Elijah, 4, and Major, 11 months, led to the loss of her job and their main source of income. Shanae only had the job for a short period of time and was still on 90-day probation when the accident occurred. Missed shifts eventually ended in termination. 

Elijah and Major Wallace (Photo by Stormy Cooper || Intrinsic Joy Photography)
Elijah and Major Wallace (Photo by Stormy Cooper || Intrinsic Joy Photography)

Patrick was receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for an existing disability. That income was recently reduced to about $30 per month due to the state-funded hospital stay and medical care he has been receiving.  Patrick’s regular SSI payment, a little more than $700 for a month, was used to pay March rent.

Where the family will find the money to pay April’s rent is a nagging concern for Shanae.

Still, the young mother is grateful for family members who’ve helped with utility expenses. She is also thankful for Choices Clinic, which has helped with the needs of her 11-month-old son.

Prior to the accident, Choices provided assistance to the family and has since gone above and beyond typical services offered to help ease Shanae’s burden. The clinic’s board of directors approved the purchase of new car seats for both boys since theirs were in the vehicle when the accident occurred. Choices has also provided some financial assistance.

Shanae hopes to get back to work as soon as possible but realizes there are more struggles in the family’s future. Patrick is unable to walk and bound to a wheelchair. Their second vehicle is inoperable and they have no way to pay for repairs.

“When I can, I have family or friends take me to see Patrick,” Shanae said.

And her role as primary bread winner will have to wait while she serves as primary caregiver for her husband and children.

“I really don’t know what we’re going to do,” Shanae said, pointing out that a new month and new bills are quickly approaching. With the family caught in a downward spiral, a representative of Choices Clinic suggested the struggling wife and mother open a benefit account, asking friends, neighbors and fellow community members for assistance.

“It’s not what I want to do, but it’s what I have to do,” Shanae said.

A benefit account in her name – Shanae Wallace – has been established at F&M Bank, located at 2653 W. Washington in Stephenville.

Individuals able to provide other assistance, can email and contact arrangements will be made.


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