A New Life Emerging

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Category: Client Story

September 28, 2022

Community Support

When an unimaginable accident upturns this family’s life, a community of support grows around them.

In August 2021, Estrella, her mom and her dad were driving back from an evening church event. The family’s vehicle crashed, flipped, and sent all three passengers to the hospital. The parents suffered multiple injuries, and Estrella—who was 13 years old at the time—suffered brain damage that left her paralyzed from the neck down. In one instant, the life they had was gone and a new one was emerging.

Estrella stayed at the hospital for six months. During that time, her parents split time between family and Ronald McDonald House. They were connected with various support from her neurologist, Integral Care and Any Baby Can. Once they met Amanda, their case manager in our CARE program, Estrella’s family had someone to support them as they embarked on their next big challenge: going home.

Transition Home After the Hospital

In order to go home, the hospital required there to be at least two caregivers who could lift and assist Estrella. Since both parents were still recovering from injuries, Estrella’s sister Nubia and her family moved into the home to help out. Space was tight, but it has been a blessing to have Nubia nearby.

Coworkers and friends helped update the small mobile home to be more accessible and installed a donated lift for Estrella’s bed. In addition, their church and community helped with other donations, including feeding and hygiene supplies, securing transportation and more.

Amanda, Estrella’s Any Baby Can case manager, was committed to ensuring the family had what it needed for a smooth transition. Along with a volunteer team from The Texas Ramps Project, she was able to coordinate a wheelchair ramp to be delivered, assembled and installed, just in time for Estrella to come home.

“This family has been through so much. It has been amazing to see them supported by so many in the community. They are so motivated to accomplish things they never imagined they would,” says Amanda Sherbert Padilla, LBSW, social worker with our CARE and Candlelighters programs.

Schooling and Counseling Support

Estrella is very social and eager for routine. She loved going to school and her church group. Once at home, Amanda supported the family in establishing homebound school for Estrella. As she slowly regains some movement in her fingers and hands, she has become more expressive and is able to communicate her needs.

Amanda has helped the family enroll Estrella with the school district and seek out special education resources. They’re currently securing accommodations so she can return to in-person school.

“Amanda has helped me a lot with my daughter's school and insurance paperwork. For us the language has been a big problem, but Amanda has translated everything. She even helped with Estrella's evaluation for the school. Without her, we would have struggled much more, and she has made everything easier for us,” says Eva, Estrella’s mother.

Through it all, Estrella’s parents have been strong for her, often putting their own needs and injuries aside. Amanda was able to connect them with mental health counseling through Any Baby Can’s No Estás Solo program, which offers free therapy sessions in Spanish to families in our programs. In fact, even though Estrella is non-verbal, she was recently connected with a counselor who is working with her on emotions and behaviors. The family will also receive respite support so that a personal care assistant can give mom, dad and Nubia a reprieve from caregiving to focus on some of their own needs.

A New Life Emerging

The family went back to church after a long year away. Estrella loved going back to see her friends at church, a community that has been so supportive through the toughest moments.

“Any Baby Can has given us enormous support. Not only did our case manager Amanda help with things we needed for Estrella, but she also listens to me when I tell her my problems. And the family therapy we receive from NES has changed a lot for me; I feel more at ease,” says Eva.



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