Disability-rights activist, once considered ‘a vegetable’, joins fight for Terri Schiavo

.- A disability-rights activist, who was once dependent on a feeding tube and considered “a vegetable” by medical professionals, has joined the fight to save Terri Schindler Schiavo and hopes to visit the 41-year-old disabled Florida woman by mid-month.

Kate Adamson suffered an acatastrophic brainstem stroke in Los Angeles in June 1995 at the age of 33, which left her in what is now being called “a locked-in state” for five months. She was totally paralyzed and unable to communicate, but she could see, hear and feel and she was fully conscious, like Terri.

While doctors said Adamson could not be saved, her husband insisted that she receive rehabilitation therapy and treatment, unlike Terri’s husband, Michael Schiavo, who has denied his wife treatment for more than a decade.

Now, at 43, the mother of two is fully functional, except for some paralysis on the left side of her body. She tours the country to tell her story and speak about the sanctity of life. Adamson believes the campaign to defend Terri’s life has a large impact on all of society.

“This is not just going to affect Terri, but a lot of Terris,” she told CNA. “This (the outcome in Terri’s case) will affect a lot people’s lives.”

The New Zealand native believes Terri’s condition is being widely misrepresented. In an effort to clarify Terri’s condition and urge others to join the fight to save Terri, Adamson has made several television and radio appearances, often with Terri’s father, Bob Schindler.

"I have a unique understanding of what Terri is feeling. I could feel everything that the doctors did to me, and I could do nothing. I was at the complete mercy of others, and they couldn't hear me," said Adamson.

Kate also has a unique insight into what it is like to be starved. While in her locked-in state, she experienced digestive problems, which led doctors to stop her feeding tube for eight days. She remembers the pain of being withheld nourishment.

Adamson is in the midst of making travel plans to visit Terri in Florida, March 12-13, a few days before Terri’s feeding tube is to be removed by court order. Her publicist, Wanda Sanchez, told CNA that a request has been made to Terri’s husband’s lawyers to visit Terri, but Adamson has not yet received a response.

While Adamson is unsure whether she will be permitted to visit Terri, she hopes to meet Florida legislators and to share her story.

“God has brought me back for a purpose,” said the Christian woman. “For me not to speak would be a betrayal of that gift.”

“I pray that God will soften hearts to see the woman (Terri) lying there and see someone who deserves a chance at life, even if she doesn’t respond the way we want her to respond,” Adamson told CNA. “I’m praying the judge’s heart will be softened.”

“God is in the business of miracles. Everything hinges on him right now,” she said.

Adamson’s efforts to date have resulted in thousands of responses from people who agree that Terri deserves a chance to live, reported Sanchez. These people have been encouraged to contact legislators through phone calls or letter writing and make their voices heard, said Sanchez.

Adamson has documented her story in the book she authored, called Kate’s Journey. For more information, go to: www.KatesJourney.com.

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