The Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network has announced that Ave Maria University will once again host “The National Mass for Terri’s Day” at the Ave Maria Oratory at Ave Maria University, located near Naples, Florida.
Terri was killed on March 31, 2005 when her former husband won a protracted legal battle against the Schindler family for the right to disconnect her feeding tube. Doctors who examined Terri say she was not in a persistent vegetative state and that her condition could have been improved has she been given access to more medical care and rehabilitative treatment.
The International Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Terri Schindler Schiavo, and All of Our Vulnerable Brothers and Sisters (“Terri’s Day”) was established in 2007 and is observed each year on or around March 31, the date of Terri’s death.
The purpose of this day is to foster education, prayer, and activism regarding discrimination against the cognitively disabled, and advocacy for people in situations similar to what Terri and her family faced.
“Every person has a right to proper health care. It is frightening to see health care professionals usurp the God given rights of family members wanting to care for their loved ones,” says Suzanne Schindler, Terri’s sister and Executive Director of Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network. “Currently, in all but eleven states, doctors and hospitals have been empowered to disregard a person’s advance directives even in cases when the call for treatment is food and water.”
Terri’s brother, Bobby Schindler, has said the purpose of this day is to foster education, prayer, and activism regarding discrimination against the cognitively disabled, and advocacy for people in situations similar to what Terri and her family faced.
“We must continue to raise the awareness of the potential threat of hospital ‘ethics committees’ across the country that are seeking to remove basic care, food and water even from those who are not terminally ill. Right now, in all but ten states, doctors and hospitals have been empowered to disregard advance directives even in cases when they call for treatment that is just food and water,” he noted.
“With the growing concern of health care rationing and the government wanting to get involved in our health care decisions, this issue will get much worse,” he said.
Following Terri’s death, the Schindler family created the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network to protect the rights of people with cognitive disabilities. It has communicated with and supported more than 1,000 families, and has been involved in hundreds of cases where it has helped disabled people get the care and medical treatment they deserve.
“No family should ever have to witness what my family witnessed, watching a loved one slowly dehydrate to death,” Suzanne Vitadamo, Terri’s sister, told LifeNews.com previously. “We want Terri’s day to remind us all that persons with disabilities are never burdens and should be treated with nothing but our unconditional love and compassion.”
The Schindler family says the event isn’t limited to just pro-life advocates or disability rights activists, but to anyone with a heart for patients who deserve appropriate medical care and respect. They hope participants in the day will pray, that local groups will conduct educational activities or get youth involved in essay contests or organize letter to the editor campaigns or writing letters to elected officials.
They also hope people will volunteer at their local hospital or hospice and will spend time with a disabled friend or loved one.
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, stated, “Priests for Life is proud to co-sponsor, together with Terri’s family, this day of remembrance each year. As I preached at Terri’s funeral Mass, the tragedy of what happened to her is meant to bring us all together, galvanized to help all the other Terris of the world. Let us not miss this opportunity to educate and inspire one another, and let’s all continue to support Terri’s family and the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network.”
All are invited and encouraged to attend “The National Mass for Terri’s Day” on Friday, March 30th, 2012 at 5:00 PM ET located at Ave Maria Oratory 5050 Ave Maria Boulevard, Ave Maria, Florida.