Terri Schiavo’s Family Finds Birthday Cards Taken Down
by Steven Ertelt
December 5, 2003
Pinellas Park, FL (LifeNews.com) — On Wednesday, supporters of Terri Schiavo joined members of her family to celebrate Terri’s 40th birthday. However, like so much of Terri’s story, the event was not without controversy as some cards written to Terri by disabled children were taken down shortly after they had been displayed.
As previously reported by LifeNews.com, dozens of special needs students from Margaret K. Lewis School in Panama City, Florida created birthday cards for Terri. Though they needed help from teachers and assistants to draw their cards and sign their names, that didn’t stop them from letting Terri know they care.
Earlier in the day, Mary Schindler, Terri’s mother, displayed the cards near Terri’s bed. Later in the day, Mary returned to find that the cards had been taken down and place on a shelf out of the way.
More cards were put on display only to be removed later as well. There was no indication as to who removed the cards — whether it was hospice staff, Terri’s estranged husband Michael or a representative of him.
"I don’t understand why they wouldn’t allow us to display her birthday cards," said Mary Schindler. "It seems so outrageous that someone would be scared of having something as simple as a card or a kind note reach Terri."
The actions aren’t unusual as this isn’t the first occasion on which Terri was denied cards or gifts. Supporters have sent Terri flowers on previous occasions that were removed from her room shortly after they arrived.
Also, according to Terri’s family, Michael Schiavo has prevented her before from receiving flowers.
Many supporters came Wednesday bearing gifts and several hundred people sent Terri birthday cards and while others gave balloons and cupcakes.
Some who came in person to support Terri brought special homemade items. Jeanie Dicus of California brought a hand-crafted a quilt with lavender flowers and intricate needle-work for a gift. Cheryl Ford of Florida put together a collage of photos from people around the world who support the disabled woman and her plight.
Though Terri’s family was permitted to bring in a piece of cake to Terri’s room (she was not fed with it) the officer on duty mocked them as they put lip gloss — a birthday present — on her lips.
"All of these little indignities add up to one great, giant indignity, namely treating Terri as though she were dead," said Pat Anderson, attorney for the Schindler family.
"However, Terri was under a death sentence this time last year, so this was a birthday Terri was never supposed to have, and it’s encouraging to know so many people from all around the world are pulling for her," Anderson added.
Birthday greetings for Terri can be sent to The Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation, 4615 Gulf Boulevard, #104-103, St. Petersburg Beach, Florida 33706.