Mom, twins – party of three happily serves patients

Heather Wallace is a nurse supervisor in oncology at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital. Her twin daughters – Shantyle and Savana Wallace also work at the hospital.

They finish each other’s sentences; they laugh at family stories; and they all three work in the same hospital. Heather Wallace tells about visiting New York with her twin daughters Shantyle and Savana Wallace and how they managed to clear a subway car because they were “laughing so hard and carrying on.”

It’s a party of three for this mother and her identical twins.

“Shantyle is the rule follower. Savana is the rebel,” said Wallace, who is married to Otha Wallace. Shantyle is a vegetarian and Savana loves meat – especially bacon. But, in many other ways the twins are similar. In fact, when they were born doctors determined they were “mirror twins” or monozygotic (MZ) twins – terms used to describe their physical features. When they are facing each other, some of their characteristics are opposite. Mirror twins start as a single fertilized egg but at some time during the first two weeks after conception the embryo splits into two identical parts.

“Shantyle is missing teeth; Savana has them. Savana is left-handed; Shantyle is right-handed. Savana is strong willed; Shantyle is measured,” said Wallace, who delivered the twins at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital on November 22, 1998. Savana weighed five pounds 15 ounces, and Shantyle weighed five pounds 12 ounces. The babies were born two weeks early and Savana entered the world 15 minutes before her twin sister. The twins have two younger brothers Isaiah Wallace, 11 and Jackson Wallace, 13. Savana is the mother to two-year-old Sophia, and 10-month-old Salvador.

When the twins were students at Muncie Burris they often met their mom at nearby IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital for lunch and completed homework in the hospital cafeteria after school.

They both participated in cheerleading and volleyball and managed the basketball team together. Shantyle was into soccer and track and was a member of National Honor Society. Savana was class president. They volunteered for Relay for Life and served at a mobile soup kitchen when they were in New York.

Heather Wallace started working at IU Health Ball Memorial eight years ago in oncology.

“I really like the connection you make with people – the patients, staff, and coworkers,” said Wallace. “When I first started at the hospital I remember walking down the hall with someone who knew everyone she passed. I was wishing I knew as many people as my co-worker and now I do. It feels good.”

The Hospital is like a home away from home for the twins.

Shantyle, who is working toward her teaching degree, began working at the hospital’s Subway location over a year ago. She now works in communications and guest relations.

“I got to know so many people when I was working at Subway. I knew their orders before they said them,” said Shantyle. In guest relations she answers phones and pages doctors. Savana, a certified nurse practitioner, recently started working third shift as a patient care assistant in oncology. Most days she is passing her mom and sister as she is leaving work and they are starting their day.

“There’s hardly a day that goes by that I don’t see both of them either at the hospital or at home,” said Wallace. Until recently both girls lived with Wallace and her parents. Shantyle recently moved with a friend but they all still get together for dinners and shopping.

“I started at the hospital so I could be close to mom,” said Shantyle. “Now that I am a mom too, I understand so much more and have so much respect for her. She’s taught me a lot about life and to not rush things,” said Savana.

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
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