Terri's Story


Theresa Marie Schindler was born to Robert and Mary Schindler on December 3, 1963. She was the first of three children the Schindlers would have.

Terri was a shy, but comical, child who had an affinity for music, animals and the arts. She kept a small circle of friends and was dear to schoolmates, neighboring families and her own extended family.

Following high school, Terri came into her own. She developed a knack for sketching and doodling. She enjoyed outings with her friends. She was an adoptive mother to the family's dog, Bucky. Terri attended Catholic School while growing up and remained close to her faith throughout her life.

In 1983, Terri met Michael Schiavo at Bucks County Community College and the two began dating. He was the first romantic interest Terri had.

The couple was engaged within a few months and married a year later at Terri's church in Southampton, Pa. She was 21.

In 1986, Terri and Michael relocated to Pinellas County, Florida and her parents followed three months later.

In 1990, at the age of 26, Terri suffered a mysterious cardio-respiratory arrest for which no cause has ever been determined. She was diagnosed with hypoxic encephalopathy - neurological injury caused by lack of oxygen to the brain. Terri was placed on a ventilator, but was soon able to breathe on her own and maintain vital function. She remained in a severely compromised neurological state and was provided a PEG tube to ensure the safe delivery of nourishment and hydration.

On March 31, 2005, Terri Schindler Schiavo died of marked dehydration following more than 13 days without nutrition or hydration under the order of Circuit Court Judge, George W. Greer of the Pinellas-Pasco's Sixth Judicial Court. Terri was 41.