By Hilary White

Terri Schiavo STATEN ISLAND, NY, March 31, 2008 ( – Priests for Life and the family of Terri Schindler Schiavo have organized a series of events intended to raise awareness of the plight of severely disabled people and the growing movement supporting legalized euthanasia. March 31 is the anniversary of Terri’s death by deliberate dehydration, ordered by a court at the request of her husband Michael Schiavo. The Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation and Priests for Life have asked that Terri, and others in similar circumstances, be remembered with prayers, memorial services, educational activities and community outreach.

The family, and Priests for Life who supported them throughout their trial, are asking for recognition of the “International Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Terri Schindler Schiavo, and All of Our Vulnerable Brothers and Sisters,” which will be observed each year on March 31, the anniversary of her death.

Bobby Schindler, Terri’s brother, said, “This third anniversary should be an occasion for all of us to both remember the injustice done to Terri, and reach out to others with prayer and concrete action when they need the kind of help Terri needed”.

After Theresa “Terri” Marie Schindler Schiavo suffered a mysterious collapse in February 1990 and was left seriously cognitively disabled, the Schindler family fought through courts and the media for seven years to have her recognised as a full person with full rights of protection under the law. But her husband and a sympathetic court system maintained that her cognitive disability constituted grounds to have her killed by dehydration. She died at a Pinellas Park hospice on March 31, 2005, at the age of 41 with many decrying the act as one of judicial murder.

The Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation and Priests for Life have suggested a number of ways people can fitly commemorate Terri, including spending time “volunteering at a nursing home or hospital” or “time with a disabled friend or relative”. They suggest that students and young people can create a website in honour of Terri and in defence of life or invite a speaker to speak at schools, parishes or community organizations on the ethical issues surrounding the care of the disabled.

Suzanne Vitadamo, Terri’s sister, said, “Our family continues to be consoled and uplifted by the many ways in which people honour my sister, learn from her story, and grow in compassion for all the disabled”.

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, stated, “Terri’s death was not the end of her fight. It was the beginning of a new chapter in the pro-life movement. I call upon all those who were moved by Terri’s death to continue their courageous activism in the cause of life, and never to be silent”.

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Terri’s Day Announced – March 31 – Groups Call for Special Remembrances of Terri Schiavo