Sunday, February 06, 2005

Our Cold Bodies Were Soon Warmed

By, Cheryl Ford RN

On February 4, 2005, at 1:00 PM, approximately 30 friends of Terri met Mr. Wayne Galley and myself in the central lobby of the Mariott Hotel. We had gathered together to prepare for our planned peaceful demonstration in front of the Tampa Convention Center. President Bush was scheduled to arrive at 4:00 PM to give a talk on his revamping of Social Security.

In his efforts to help save Terri, Wayne Galley has made two trips across country in less than two months. He recently arrived as a guest in our home again on January 27th from California. Wayne is a talented songwriter and musician. Originally from Australia, he has joined Terri's fight hoping that his music would send an inspirational message to help save Terri's life. He has written several very beautiful songs for Terri, thus, creating "LIFE" CD to help benefit Terri's Foundation. Hear the demo's of Terri's songs at Terri's website:

Knowing how critical time is surrounding Terri's fight, Galley's efforts are relentless when it comes to him helping me with my Fight4Terri internet and widespread local grassroots movement. Terri Schindler-Schiavo is only weeks, if not just days away from having her life ended via a torturous death of dehydration and starvation. Her estranged husband Michael Schiavo, sits salivating as he waits in anticipation for the day Judge George Greer's corrupt court will again exhaust the desperate pleas and filings of Terri's parents, Robert and Mary Schindler. In the last several weeks, Mr. and Mrs. Schindler have repeatedly tried to bargain with Michael Schiavo. They have made a request that they be granted the parental rights to care for their disabled daughter Terri, in exchange for no more legal battles in the courts. They have agreed to give Michael, and the 2 children he created with his fiancee Jodi Centonze, all rights to any books or movies made on Terri's situation that they may potentially be offered. In addition, they have agreed to not pursue any legal filings against him for whatever remaining 1.6 million dollars he has in his possession. The money that was awarded to Terri in 1993 for her rehabilitation. Rehabilitation that Michael Schiavo has denied Terri for many years!

Schiavo, through a message delivered by death attorney George Felos has denied the Schindlers' written request. He and George Felos instead wish to patiently await for Judge Greer's permission to again pull Terri's feeding tube; a small feeding tube which she only has attached in order to receive routine and customary nutrition for 12 hours daily. For the remaining 12 hours, Terri is not connected to any tubes whatsoever. She, like every other disabled person, sits in her wheelchair anticipating the daily visits of her parents and siblings. Schiavo has not permitted Terri to leave her hospice room in well over four and a half years. Consequently, the Schindlers have to visit her at the hospice building and have not been able to take their daughter on any outdoor outings. The outing restrictions also included Terri not being permitted to attend her own birthday celebration. A celebration which was held this past December at a local public park with 150 guests in attendance.

The February 4th President demonstration did not deliver us typical Florida weather. It was cold and very windy. Standing near the Hillsborough Bay did not do anything to help with the wind chill factor penetrating our clothing. I had asked the supporters to dress in similar attire, dark slacks and a light colored top so to make our unified presence known on behalf of Terri. The volunteers gladly agreed. For this particular rally, we decided to change how we usually write our messages on the signs that we hold. Our messages were identical and simple so to accommodate how quickly the President in his motorcade would be passing.

The signs all read....Please Save Terri!

In the 3 hours prior to the Presidents arrival, we all stood with our signs held up before hundreds of people who were in single file waiting in front of the Convention Center to get in to hear the President's speech on Social Security. We however, were not invited inside like they were.

While displaying our signs outside the convention center, we were approached by two police officers. They informed us that we were standing on Convention property. The one officer had explained if they had any complaints from the Convention people, they would have to ask us to move to the public sidewalk. Before we could politely thank him for his information, he whispered to a supporter, "I believe in what you are doing for Terri."

It was a great feeling to know our message for Terri was being delivered to so many people at one time as they had all waited in line before us. Several people even left their place in line to cross and ask us how Terri was doing. They wanted to know why the courts were not helping Terri? Many expressed their sincere empathy and concern for Terri and her family. It soon became apparent to me, the tides in the last several months had finally turned in Terri's favor. I found the majority of the public were now in support of Terri as opposed to other rallies I had held several months ago when many were misinformed about Terri and were against saving her life. What I saw in the general public was also validated in three independent voting polls I had recently reviewed in the media. Again, I found myself wondering why was the atmosphere always so different with regard to Terri's life in Judge Greer's courtroom, than it was in the atmosphere and opinion of the general public?

I have attributed much of the noted change in the publics opinion to the work which has been set forth by the grassroots internet movements. For example, the supporters alone under my Fight4Terri grassroots movement have grown in 17 months from a mere 200 supporters to now well up into the thousands. Internet correspondence delivers messages about Terri's plight throughout the world via emails, message boards and chat rooms. The Internet forums are in session day and night, 7 days per week, spreading the truth about Terri to people from all over the world. Discussions are taking place every where on the net about Judge Greer, George Felos, and Michael Schiavo's infidelity and wishes to kill Terri via dehydration and starvation. Because there are many available on line public records regarding Terri's plight, thousands of people have begun accessing them and are questioning could there have been domestic violence during the night of Terri's collapse.

The Free Republic Internet people (aka Freepers)are another known group who also have been instrumental in fighting to save Terri's life. The Freepers have maintained a steady support thread for Terri. The Freepers have worked hard, providing current resources and information to those already informed, as well as to others who are new to Terri's urgent life and death situation. I personally wish to thank the Free Republic members for their help in educating the public concerning Terri's actual physical and mental condition.

Shortly after 3PM Eastern Time, the roads surrounding the Convention center were blocked from all moving traffic. It had become obvious to us that we had chosen the correct location to view the President's motorcade procession into the Convention Center. As the minutes ticked by, we eagerly awaited confirmation for any signs of the Presidents motorcade coming down the road.

The anticipation heightened when out in the distance we could see the first signs of flashing lights on several motorcycles and police cars that were leading the Presidents motorcade. We held our message signs for Terri high above our heads hoping the President would see our pleas for him to help us SAVE TERRI as his motorcade had turned the corner directly in front of us.

Our cold bodies were soon warmed with a sense of relief. We were confident that our physical location on the sidewalk and the signs we held had to have made contact with the man inside the darkened windows of one of the several vehicles which passed. We knew in our hearts one of those vehicles carried the President of the United States and he had to have seen our 30 plus signs which all read....Please SAVE Terri.

About the Author: Cheryl Ford is a licensed Registered Nurse in the state of Washington. She is the founder and CEO of her own company which assists in the financial, social and clinical assessment and placement of patients requiring a wide range of skilled medical treatment to over 450 licensed Adult Family Homes. The licensed Adult Family homes are owned and operated by physicians and nurses. While also maintaining another residence and an additional business in the state of Florida, her involvement as an activist in the Terri Schiavo case has arisen as a concerned citizen, as well as from the many years of knowledge she possesses as a Clinical Case Manager, licensed Registered Nurse and former firefighter/paramedic.