Family of Terri Schiavo Aims To Keep Her Legacy Alive - KMSP-TV

Family of Terri Schiavo Aims To Keep Her Legacy Alive

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Mary Schindler, Terri's mother, spoke to FOX 29's Chris O'Connell Wednesday. Mary Schindler, Terri's mother, spoke to FOX 29's Chris O'Connell Wednesday.
PHILADELPHIA -

Terri Schiavo was a household name in 2005 when a family dispute became an international media firestorm. Now, almost eight years to the day since she died, her family is trying to keep her legacy alive.

"She had a great sense of humor a very devout love for her family. Our family was very close growing up," said Schiavo's brother, Bobby Schindler.

Terri's family lived in Lower Moreland Township before moving to St. Petersburg, Florida in the mid 1980's. She graduated from Archbishop Wood High School.

Schindler has since quit his job as a Catholic school teacher in Florida and moved back to Philadelphia. He is now the executive director for the Narberth based Terri Schiavo Live and Hope Network. The group raises awareness for end of life issues for those with severe brain injuries.

 "The horrific nightmare of walking into her room and watching my sister starve and dehydrate during that period was heart wrenching," said Schindler.
   
A collapse in her home on February 25, 1990 caused permanent brain damage to Schiavo.

Soon after a bitter fight began over her medical care between Terri's parents and husband, Michael Schiavo.  Michael has long contended that his wife would not want to live in what doctors described as a "persistent vegetative state." Her parents and siblings wanted to take custody of Terri in hopes of helping her recover. 

A five year court battle involving 40 judges and six failed attempts to the US Supreme court ended with doctors removing Terri's feeding tube in March of 2005.  She died 13 days later.

 "People pray to her every day," said Terri's mother, Mary Schindler, who now takes comfort in helping others.  They say phone calls come every day from families with similar stories.

"People are being euthenized every day and if I can help one person, it makes me feel good. We tried all those years to try to help Terri and we couldn't" she said.

The foundation's ultimate goal is to raise enough money to build a one of a kind brain injury rehabilitation center in Philadelphia to treat those who may have lost hope.   For her family--Terri's legacy lives on.

"I think Terri is looking down on us right now and giving us the inspiration to continue every day to help people like her," said Bobby Schindler.

The foundation is holding a mass in honor of Terri at 5 p.m. on Friday at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Center City. The mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Charles Chaput. The mass will be followed by a gala awards dinner at the Center City Marriott. The keynote speaker will be former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

For more information on the mass and gala visit, click here.

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