A Legacy of Giving Back, One Family at A Time
Teresa has made an impact on people across the globe. While she is not here to see that for herself, her family takes comfort in knowing her legacy will live on in the lives of those she has touched and on others she never had a chance to meet.
Teresa’s story begins as the eldest of three daughters of Bill and Debbie. She was exceptionally close to her parents, sisters and extended family. As a physical therapist, Teresa worked with physically disabled children at a local school. She was fortunate to work at the same school where her mother Debbie taught.
After settling in to her career, she looked forward to the day when she would meet her match to share in the life she had built for herself. Independent and very capable, she bought her first home, a townhouse, and moved in with her beloved Golden Retriever, Carley.
Soon after, Teresa was introduced to Dave through Eileen, their mutual friend, at a Penn State football game. It was a perfect fall day and the two had captured each other’s interest. They had their first date shortly thereafter and went on to date for a few years and eventually married. Dave recalls the moment he learned they were expecting. He was out of town on a boy’s weekend, but Teresa couldn’t wait to share the news and called to tell him they were expecting!
One of his fondest memories is when they celebrated Teresa’s 32nd birthday weeks before Rocco was born. Dave had arranged for a surprise 3-D ultrasound with Teresa’s family joining them. Teresa was so excited to share in the special moment with some of those whom she loved the most. They watched Rocco twist and turn, move his hands and feet and even get the hiccups. To top it off, he looked just like his mommy! It would be the young couple’s only time to watch their son together.
Teresa was the ultimate mother. As she held on in those final moments after Rocco was delivered by c-section she asked, “What is his heart rate?” She would never get to hear first his cry and learn he was in perfect health. She would also miss the little things that Rocco does just like her; like his love for apple juice. Teresa’s mom recounts with a chuckle how Teresa insisted on having apple juice brought to her every night as a child. “I get a kick out of Rocco doing many of the same things Teresa did as a child.” Rocco continues to thrive under the loving care of his dad and is adored and loved by many.
As way to honor her memory by doing something she loved, Dave, Eileen and some of her closest friends created Runnin’ 4 Rocco a team of runners to participate in the annual Baltimore Running Festival. What began as way to comfort one another in the wake of her passing has grown to support other families whose lives have also been touched by AFE. In addition to supporting other families, each year funds earned by participants go to benefit the AFE Foundation, which was formed only months before Teresa passed. In its third year, Runnin’ 4 Rocco continues to be one of the largest charities involved with the Baltimore Running Festival.
Teresa was educated and well read. She was compassionate, thoughtful and always willing to render help when needed. Her friends describe her as warm and genuine with a beautiful smile and a great laugh.
In the days, weeks, months and even years after, Dave and Teresa’s family continues to hear stories from those she touched either through her life or through her legacy. One of the furthest reaching was in the UK. Her story and the success of Runnin’ 4 Rocco inspired another father, Pete Brown, to create Journey for Jules; a week long running event to honor the loss of his beloved Julie to AFE in 2010. Pete and his best mate, Colin, ran from one town to another totaling 180 miles, equivalent to 7 marathons in 7 days. During the event, Pete and Colin wore a Runnin‘ 4 Rocco t-shirt donning Teresa’s “TC” initials on the sleeve. Another family also took inspiration from Runnin’ 4 Rocco and founded “Love 4 Lisa” in honor of their wonderful Lisa who also suffered a fatal AFE.
While Teresa’s legacy will continue to live on through Rocco and those who loved and knew her best, it will also live on through the lives that have been touched by her story for years to come.