Skip to comments.Terri Schiavo Needs Your Help
Posted on 05/13/2002 3:45:41 PM PDT by Coleus
The story of Terri Schiavo is a case that could have major implications in the fight to preserve the dignity of life, especially for persons who are handicapped, elderly or sick. Terri's family is inspirational in their devotion to her care. I have met them several times and they have kept me informed of her plight. I usually do not send out emails with requests for donations, but I felt the need to make an exception in this situation.
Detailed explanations of current and past legal events are featured on Terri's website at Terri's Website. I especially recommend that you read "The Cover Up" under Current News posted March 29, 2002.
Terri's family needs your help in overcoming the "Right to Die" philosophy. The family can not afford the legal expenses necessary to preserve Terri's life alone. Their legal financial situation is near a crisis. If you have any questions regarding Terri or our fight to preserve Terri's life please call Terri's Dad, Robert Schindler, Sr., at
Please contribute if you can. Donations to help Terri should be directed to:
Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation
4615 Gulf Blvd. Suite 103-104
St. Petersburg Beach, FL 33706
Below is Mr. Schindler's letter to me. Please keep Terri and her family in your prayers.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Peter West
Dear Father West,
You may have heard of my daughter. She is a beautiful 38 year old woman, and she's been on television many times. Her name is Terri Schiavo.
In January of 2000, Terri's life was put on trial in response to her husband's petition to withdraw the feeding tube which supplies her nutrition and water. The media labeled it as a "Right to Die" case. After an unspeakably horrible, one-sided trial, the judge ruled that her feeding be terminated, thereby ordering her to die of starvation, or, worse yet, dehydration.
I am writing to you now because we need your help. We are in desperate need of financial assistance. And as you read on, I think you will see that the importance of your aid goes far beyond the fate of one man's daughter.
Please understand, Terri is not brain dead, nor is she on a ventilator. The Florida courts, however, view a feeding tube as a form of artificial life support. And because of the current state of Florida law, the same thing that Terri is going through could happen to a broad range of people........... Alzheimer's patients, brain injured adults and children who can't feed themselves, children with Downs syndrome, and people with MS. All it takes is a disabled patient who can't speak or feed herself and a spouse or family member who is willing to testify that the patient had made vague statements, even years ago, that they "wouldn't want to live like that," as did Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo. You don't even have to produce a written advance directive anymore.
There are no guarantees this couldn't happen to anyone's daughter or son? In Terri's case, the court focused on testimony rendered by a neurologist hired by her husband. He depicted Terri as a vegetable, going so far as to state categorically there was "very little inside this skull other than spinal fluid," despite CT scans clearly showing Terri's brain. Terri's future was represented as hopeless. As a result of this damning testimony, she was deprived of food and water for several days in April of 2001, only to be saved at the last possible minute by the order of another courageous judge.
Despite this close call, Terri is doing well now. She actually responds to her family and friends. She is acutely aware of her surroundings and she reacts positively to stimulation. She frequently attempts to speak.
Since this case became so public, seven independent doctors, including neurologists, have come forward to file affidavits stating that Terri is not hopeless. Their affidavits emphatically state, that with proper treatment, Terri can recover substantially. Of course, nobody can say for sure how much of her faculties she can recover until she has actually received that treatment.
But, her husband Michael has complete control over Terri, and he does not allow her to receive rehabilitation of any kind. Terri gets NO physical therapy, NO speech therapy, NO swallowing therapy, NO sensory stimulation, NO pap smears, NO mammograms. You have to question -What kind of a world do we live in where doctors aren't allowed to treat patients anymore?
In the two years since her "death sentence," our family has engaged in a struggle to save Terri's life. The extensive media coverage has attracted interest throughout this country and abroad. When informed of the actual details of this case, people are usually horrified, and overwhelmingly in support of our efforts. Unfortunately, the publicity has also attracted the attention of the "Right to Die" movement. This case, we believe, has become part of their ambition to expand the categories of vulnerable people from whom food and water can be withheld.
If we are unsuccessful, the legal precedents established in this case will have far reaching repercussions. Not only will it cost Terri her life, but it also has the potential to include the disabled into the category of people whose "quality of life" is deemed unacceptable, and they too may be considered unworthy of living.
At this point, our legal struggle is producing results. We will soon (for the first time) have doctors of our choosing examine Terri and order tests. That will be followed by a new trial in October, at which we will be able to present our evidence that Terri is not in a persistent vegetative state, as her husband claims.
However, it is still an uphill battle. The other side is well-funded by Terri's own money! She has a medical fund, nearly $400,000 of which has been spent by Michael Schiavo on attorneys' fees and costs in his attempt to end her life. Even if we win, we expect the other side to appeal the result, right up to the Supreme Court. They are willing to fight to the last dollar of Terri's money.
I hope you can see that we desperately need your help, in the form of financial support. The cruel irony of using Terri's money to end her life can only be overcome by fighting Michael Schiavo and his attorneys -head to head- in court for as long as it takes. There are no short-cuts.
Because of the great expense involved in litigation, our family has formed The Terri Schindler - Schiavo Foundation to raise capital. Our goals are three-fold:
First, to underwrite the legal expenses involved in the ongoing litigation to save Terri's life.(As we are ordinary people of modest means, we have not been able to pay very much in attorneys fees before exhausting our resources; luckily, we are working with lawyers who recognize the great injustice that has been perpetrated, and have been willing to devote hundreds of hours to the struggle to save her life with little compensation. But they too have rent and expenses.
Second, we hope to replace some of the money held in trust for Terri's medical treatment.
Third, we feel that it is extremely important for loving mothers and fathers everywhere to understand what can happen to their children if they become "inconvenient to their spouse's lifestyles" after suffering a medical setback as did Terri (Michael is now engaged to be married to another woman). We want to share what we have learned with others who may find themselves facing the same unbelievably trying situation in which we have found ourselves.
Already, the Foundation has been called upon to assist other families with loved ones in jeopardy of having their lives prematurely ended. Consequently, we responded by helping them through sharing of information.
Contributions to the Foundation to support this cause are important. The Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation is registered with the state of Florida as a non-profit corporation. The Foundation is comprised of volunteers who have come to Terri's aid in waging this life and death battle. We have no administrative salaries, although we do incur expenses in our promotional efforts and in support activities.
Detailed explanations of current and past legal events are featured on Terri's website at Terri's Website.Please call me if there are any questions that you may have regarding Terri or our fight to preserve Terri's life. You may reach me at 727-866-0198.
Anything you can give will go to the Foundation's efforts. We need your help, and pray that no one will ever find themselves needing ours. With heartfelt thanks,
Robert Schindler Sr.
I hope his future wife doesn't suffer a tragic malady, for her sake.