Shelby Smith is the Welding teacher at Brownfield High School and has been with the district for several years. He is a wonderful man and a great teacher for his students. The sign at the Lynn Brisendine Plaza was done by Mr. Smith and his class. His students love him dearly. He is truly one of those special teachers.
What follows is a story of some of the issues Mr. Smith’s children are going through and the hardship it is placing on the Smith family.
For those who know the Smith Family from Wilson, Texas (population 487), you know that they are the kind of people that will do anything to help out their family, friends, and community. True “salt-of-the-earth” folks who give of themselves constantly and never ask for anything in return. Shelby is a farmer and school teacher; Lora is a stay-at-home-Mom and former band director.
The Smith’s have 4 children, three of whom have medical conditions requiring frequent visits to Dallas and Houston for treatment. Things took a turn for the worse this summer when what was presumed to be scoliosis in their 13-year-old daughter, Emily, turned out to be a very invasive spinal tumor. After a difficult search for the right medical team, they now feel they are in the best hands at Texas Children’s in Houston, but this is over 500 miles from their home. And Emily’s case is so unusual and complex that a medical journal article is already underway to track her situation for broader medical teaching purposes.
Over the last week, Emily has had two major spinal surgeries and multiple blood transfusions. She is now out of the ICU, but they are still awaiting the results of the biopsy to determine what the treatment plan is from here. Even if the tumor turns out to be benign, Emily will still require multiple on-going tests and frequent visits to Houston for the next few years. If it’s cancer, she and her family may need to remain in Houston for months.
Given how serious Emily’s condition is, the family does not know when they will be able to return to West Texas, and due to COVID restrictions, wait lists, etc, the Ronald McDonald House may not be an option for the foreseeable future. COVID is also preventing them from being together with Emily in the hospital room at the same time, so they take shifts throughout the day and have a room at a nearby economy hotel as their home base. Lora’s Mom is helping care for the other three children back in West Texas, and this includes the trips to Dallas for medical care as mentioned above.
An account has been set up in the Shelby Smith family’s name at the Brownfield Federal Credit Union for those who would like to contribute to them. Any money given to the Smith family at the Credit Union will all go directly to the family.
The purpose of these funds is to help with medical costs not covered by insurance, food, gas, hotel stays of indeterminate length, child care, and other miscellaneous expenses that can’t yet be predicted as they walk this path.
Every contribution helps and no amount is too small. If you have been the recipient of the kindness of the Smith Family over the years, or if you care enough to show kindness to the best kind of stranger, now is the time when they could really use it.
Thanks for your generosity and certainly your prayers for this wonderful family!
(Information for this article was taken from a family friend’s page.)