Chanel, left with Linze Serrell
Round-Up hosting benefit show to replace money stolen from a GoFundMe account set up for Chanel
Tammye Nash | Managing Editor
The North Texas LGBT community has a history of taking care of its own. And in most cases, it was the community’s drag queens who were at the forefront of efforts to raise the money someone needed — whether that was an agency that needed money to fund programs and services for people with HIV/AIDS, or a family or individual that needed funds to cover a short-term emergency.
And once again this weekend, the community is coming together to stage — you guessed it — a drag show to help one of our own, working to replace money that was donated and then stolen.
On Feb. 7, around 3 or 4 in the morning, Daniel TerBoch — known throughout the DFW community as Chanel — and a friend were driving through Dennison when disaster struck. The official accident report says that the vehicle driven by Chanel’s friend hit a patch of black ice on the highway and slid into an 18-wheeler in the adjacent lane. But Chanel thinks maybe it was the truck that slid.
“I don’t really remember what happened,” Chanel said this week of the accident. “I do remember looking up and seeing that truck coming at me.”
The passenger side vehicle Chanel and her friend were in collided with the driver’s side of the 18-wheeler, bounced off and hit a concrete barrier on the left side of the highway, then bounced back into the roadway and hit the truck again. Both impacts with the truck were on Chanel’s side of the vehicle.
“The trailer [of the truck] hit us, then we hit a bridge, then we hit the truck again,” Chanel said. “I had to be cut out of the car and then [transported by helicopter] to the hospital in Plano. I was in ICU for a week and then in a regular room for five more days.”
The incident has left Chanel, who had no insurance, facing more than $100,000 in medical debt. “The hospital stay and the helicopter alone were over $100,000, and that doesn’t count all the rest of the bills.”
Chanel’s right arm was shattered at the elbow. Ten of her ribs were broken, as were her clavicle and her sternum. And she lost the index finger on her right hand.
Chanel said losing her finger has hampered her ability to return to work. “I’m a bartender at Liquid Zoo, and I do shows at Marty’s Live. I am able to do shows again now, but I still can’ start bartending again, because I am still learning how to do things with my left hand instead of my right.”
Immediately after the accident, the community stepped up to help. The next day, Feb. 8, an employee at the Round-Up Saloon, where Chanel has worked before, set up a GoFundMe page to collect money for her. And on Feb. 25, the Round-Up hosted a drag show to benefit Chanel.
The money from that show, Chanel said this week, has helped her pay rent and other bills since the wreck. “I left the GoFundMe money there, kind of like a savings account, because I was using the money donated at the show,” she said. But when she went to withdraw the GoFundMe money, it was gone.
As it turns out, the man who had established the page in the first place, raising money in Chanel’s name, had taken the money for himself.
“He had already been fired from the Round-Up, before we found out about the GoFundMe money,” Chanel said. “When I needed the money for some bills, I started messaging him to get. He responded and told me he had been ill and he’d get back to me as soon as he could. But then nothing. I kept trying to contact him, and I got no response for weeks.”
So then Chanel decided to contact GoFundMe herself. That’s when she found out the account was empty, even though the page was still online showing the total amount raised.
“There had been $3,020 and some change in the account. After GoFundMe took their cut for fees and all, there was $2,922.49 total. That’s what he took,” Chanel said, adding that GoFundMe officials told her that the man who set it up in her name had started taking money from the account as early as two weeks after the accident. It took him only 11 to 13 days to take all the money.
“I was barely home from the hospital then,” Chanel said. “I never saw a dime of that money.”
Chanel said she has reported the incident to GoFundMe officials, and to Dallas police, who took a report and gave her a case number. “They [police] really didn’t do much. Like they said, I’m not really the victim here; it’s the people who donated the money that are the real victims. They are the ones he really stole from.”
But once again, the community is stepping up. As soon as Round-Up Saloon owners Gary Miller and Alan Pierce, “they told me they wanted to do another benefit to try to make up the money that was taken.”
That benefit will happen Sunday, June 10, from 7-10 p.m. at The Round-Up, with Lipps Larue as emcee.
Pierce said this week that when they heard what had happened, “ we knew right away that we had to do something about it. It’s just not right, and we want to do our best to replace the money that was taken.”
Pierce said that the first show had “a really good turnout and raised quite good money. We want to do at least as well this time.”
He also noted that at the bar’s recent REBA — Round-Up Employees Benevolence Association — turnabout show, the Round-Up employees invited Chanel to perform, and then told her to keep the tips she made for herself.
“Chanel is a good character and a dear friend, someone who has done a lot for this community,” Pierce said. “Now it is our turn to help her.”
Benefit for Chanel
Sunday, June 10, 7-10 p.m.
Round-Up Saloon, 3912 Cedar Springs Road