Woman 'beaten' with frying pan gets free dental work
SAN ANTONIO - When Chelsea Wainwright picks up a mirror, she's finally able to smile with confidence.
"Something that I thought was poor dental hygiene turned out to be a very bad time in my life," the mother of 3 from the Northeast Side explained.
Pictures taken on November 28th, 2013 showed the injuries she sustained from an alleged domestic violence assault. She said her ex-boyfriend repeatedly beat her in the face with a frying pan. The alleged attack caused her two front teeth to be knocked out and her lips to swell up so badly, she thought they would burst.
Prosecutors charged Leonardo Garza, the alleged victim’s ex-boyfriend and father of her child, with assault 2nd degree family violence. It’s a charge that was recently dropped against him. Rachel Garcia, a victim’s advocate from the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, said Wainwright couldn’t decide whether she wanted to testify against him. It’s something that’s not uncommon in cases like this. Instead, a judge reportedly revoked Garza’s probation and ordered him remanded to the Bexar County jail. Garza was previously convicted of domestic violence and was out on probation after serving two years behind bars for a prior attack against his ex.
Wainwright is hoping to start a new life. But nagging pain in her mouth has kept her from moving forward from the past. That’s is until she met Doctor Amani Zayed at Fresca Family Dental on 5835 Culebra Road.
"What we did is we tried to stabilize her teeth," the dentist explained.
X-rays showed her bottom teeth, from canine to canine, had been dislodged from the bone.
"It broke my heart," Dr. Zayed said.
Not only did her dentist fix the problem with permanent wire, she cleaned and repaired other oral issues-- free of charge.
“It really touched deep for me because I feel like as women, you can't be treated like that,” Dr. Zayed said. “And I feel like we need to stick together."
Wainwright, who’s in the process of being tested for cervical cancer, said she can't afford to fix the air conditioning in her car let alone pay for the dental work. That’s why she turned to the CASH FOR KINDNESS program on Fox San Antonio to help thank Doctor Zayed for what she did for her. The surprise unfolded in the office waiting area.
"I called Ryan,” Wainwright told her dentist while she held her hands. “I think you're an amazing person.”
She got choked up with emotion as Dr. Zayed looked on with surprise. “What you did for me as changed me in so many different ways. You have no idea what that did to my heart.”
“You’re welcome,” the dentist responded. “It was my pleasure to help you."
Fox San Antonio’s Ryan Wolf shared the news of her secret nomination.
“She wanted everyone across the community to know that there are good people out there,” he told her. “And it goes above and beyond just being a good dentist, you have a big heart. And on Fox San Antonio, I have a program called CASH FOR KINDNESS. We reward selfless acts of kindness."
Wolf dug into his pocket and pulled out a wad of cash.
“$100, $200, $300, $400, $500,” Dr. Zayed said as she counted the money out loud. “I'm going to give it to you.”
Wainwright couldn’t believe she immediately handed her the prize money. “Wow!" she said with tears in her eyes. “I’m just, I'm speechless. I'm overwhelmed with emotion at this moment. This can go in so many directions. And I'm beyond thankful to Fox 29 and I'm beyond thankful to you. And I'm thankful to the people at this clinic for reaching out to me when they knew I needed the help."
Dr. Zayed said it's not about the money. “It's about helping one another,” she explained. “I may need help one day and maybe she'll be able to help me one day."
Wolf issued Dr. Zayed another $500 on behalf of Fox San Antonio and asked her to use the money to help another patient. She smiled and agreed to pay it forward.
Click here to nominate someone for the CASH FOR KINDNESS prize
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