PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A decade after the private family struggle to save Terri Schiavo's life escalated into a public battle, her legacy continues more prominently than ever through the work of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network. On March 31, 2015, the nation will mark ten years since her tragic death. Her memory will be honored during Terri's Day beginning with a national Memorial Mass, followed by an Award Gala in Philadelphia to raise awareness and support for advocacy efforts for the medically vulnerable. 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 among those who moved us most in the past quarter-century. "My sister Terri became an accidental hero," says Bobby Schindler. "She was an everyday person who, because of her vulnerable situation, touched the hearts and minds of millions around the world."
The far-reaching effect of Terri's fight is underscored by the pivotal role it is playing in the 2016 presidential campaign, especially regarding Jeb Bush's potential candidacy. "I always felt Governor Bush was sincere," says Schindler. "He never backpedaled and he worked hard to help Terri. When Congress passed Terri's Law, it was one of the most bipartisan laws enacted at the time, passing unanimously in the Senate with no objections. In the House, the bill passed 203-58."
Today, a growing number of laws put life and death treatment decisions in the hands of hospital boards, ethics committees and healthcare professionals. "Our hope is that a nominee for president would support efforts to protect people in medically vulnerable situations," Schindler adds. "Protecting those who cannot advocate for themselves is the mission behind the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, and we are raising awareness around this issue and advocating for change." The Philadelphia-based nonprofit has responded to requests from more than a thousand families, supporting them with advocacy, guidance and resources at no charge.
Glenn Beck, one of America's leading multi-media personalities, founder of TheBlaze, and twelve-time national #1 bestselling author, will be the honored speaker at the 3rd Annual Life & Hope Award Gala on Tuesday, March 31st beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Union League of Philadelphia. The evening will include the presentation of the "Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Award," which honors an individual or family who fought to protect the dignity of a loved one against overwhelming odds.
Just prior to the Award dinner, Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will celebrate a national Memorial Mass beginning at 5:00 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. The public is invited and encouraged to attend the mass.
For more information about Terri's Day or to purchase tickets for the Award Gala and dinner with Glenn Beck, or to become a sponsor, visit Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network's website at www.lifeandhope.com
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 tens of thousands, Governor 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 signed a bill into law 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.
Terri's Day was established in 2007 and is celebrated each March 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.
SOURCE Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network