PHILADELPHIA, April 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- More than a decade after the private family struggle to save Terri Schiavo's life escalated into a public battle, the far-reaching positive effects of her fight will be commemorated on Friday, April 7 during an internationally broadcast special mass. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia will celebrate mass on EWTN (Eternal World Television Network), appearing live at 8am EDT. The service will be rebroadcast at Noon EDT and 7pm EDT. The mass is being held in observation of Terri's Day, an annual national day of prayer and outreach that celebrates Terri's life, with a focus on medically vulnerable and at-risk patients and families who must fight for their right to proper care. Numerous prayer gatherings will be held simultaneously around the country. www.lifeandhope.com/terrisday
Archbishop Chaput will visit the EWTN studios in Birmingham, Alabama, where he will speak to its international viewing audience on the issues impacting America's medically vulnerable. During the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, both Pope Francis and Chaput spoke publicly on issues of human dignity and the fundamental value of every individual's life. Chaput will elaborate on these issues during the April 7th mass.
"My sister Terri became an accidental hero to the medically vulnerable," says Bobby Schindler, President of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network. "She was an everyday person who, because of her defenseless situation, touched the hearts and minds of millions around the world." Terri's family has kept her fight alive by establishing the Life & Hope Network to protect the medically dependent who cannot advocate for themselves. Bobby will participate in a one-hour televised interview with Father Mitch Pacwa of EWTN to discuss the fate of individuals who are treated as being less worthy of care and medical treatment by the healthcare industry, and how the Life & Hope Network is providing advocacy, resources and support.
"A growing number of laws put life-and-death treatment decisions into the hands of hospital boards, ethics committees and healthcare professionals," says Tom Shakely, Executive Director of the Life & Hope Network. "Many people aren't aware that receiving food and water via feeding tubes is classified as artificial life support, and that it's legal in all 50 states to remove them in cases of patients with a cognitive disability. Often that decision is made by a physician rather than a family member. In light of President Trump's intention to overhaul the healthcare system, we are advocating for a renewed national conversation to assure that every patient retains the right to receive proper basic care, including food and water. Terri's case remains the litmus test for insuring people receive these basic rights."
Background: In 1990, at age 26, a healthy Terri Schindler Schiavo collapsed and was admitted to a St. Petersburg, Florida hospital where she was diagnosed with a profound brain injury. When her husband Michael eventually lobbied successfully to have her feeding tube removed, even though her family pleaded to provide for her care, a national debate unfolded. In response to the urging of hundreds of thousands, Governor Jeb Bush advocated to keep Terri alive, and Terri's Law was passed in 2003. The law enabled feeding to be resumed, but was later overturned. In 2005, with an overwhelming majority, Congress passed a bill signed by President George W. Bush allowing a federal court to intervene and continue food and water, but the effort was overturned and Terri's feeding tube was removed. She died 13 days later from dehydration. www.terrischiavo.org
Terri's Day was established in 2007 and is celebrated each spring to remember Terri and foster education, prayer and activism regarding discrimination against the cognitively disabled, and also to advocate for people in situations similar to what Terri and her family faced. www.lifeandhope.com
Terri, who is listed alongside Nelson Mandela, Pope John Paul II, and Mother Theresa in USA TODAY's 25 Lives of Indelible Impact, was named in 2007 among those who moved us most in the previous quarter-century.
Media: Ellen Langas, NouSoma Communications, 610-658-5889, cell 610-256-2946, firstname.lastname@example.org
Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network: Tom Shakely, Executive Director, 855-300-4673, email@example.com
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SOURCE Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network