Keep kicking, baby!


John Mallon of Inside the Vatican sent this appeal the other day:

As Father's Day is celebrated today, "Inside the Vatican" brings you a way to help a young Catholic father save the life of his unborn child by keeping alive his wife, who lies in a permanently brain dead state after collapsing 6 weeks ago.

On May 7th, 2005, the day before Mothers' Day, Susan M. (Rollins) Torres, 26, a pregnant mother with a two-year-old son, Peter, collapsed in her home. She was rushed to the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, VA, where she has been diagnosed with stage four melanoma and is brain dead with no hope of recovery.

Susan was 17 weeks pregnant at the time, and although the doctors have given her no hope of survival, they are fighting to keep her unborn child alive until at least July 11 where he or she will have a viable chance at life.

Her husband Jason, a devout Catholic, has quit his job and divides his time between Susan, sleeping at the hospital room every night, and his young son.

Mr. Torres faces a crushing debt because of his decision to keep his wife alive in order to save the life of his child. Susan's medical insurance leaves $1,500 a day to be paid by him out of pocket, not to mention the expensive care that the baby most likely will need in the neonatal ward if he is born.

The plight of the Torres' family has recently received wide media coverage, following an op-ed piece written by Jason's brother Justin for the Dallas Morning News, in which he discusses the way the abortion culture has negatively affected even his devoutly Catholic family, causing them and the doctors to wonder for a moment if they were doing the right thing in sacrificing so much for the life of an unborn child.

However, both the Torres and Rollins family are determined to do what it takes to try to save Susan's unborn baby's life, which they are convinced would be Susan's desire as well. Jason says his decision to try to save his unborn child's life at enormous financial cost is also very much based on his Catholic faith. The Torres family, which has seven children, are devout Catholics, and Susan converted while she was a student at the University of Dallas, where she and Jason met.

In an effort to escalate the awareness of their situation, and to help raise additional funds, friends of the Torres family have established The Susan M. Torres Fund to help defray the $1,500 a day ICU medical costs that insurance does not cover.

Please help this family by sending a donation. Any amount is appreciated and it is tax deductible. Donations can be made online through PayPal at, or sent to:

The Susan M. Torres Fund
c/o Faith and Action
P.O. Box 34105
Washington, D.C. 20043-0105

For more information, please visit

This case reminds us of the limitations of the concept of "brain death"; there are three main systems in the body, and it seems arbitrary to make one of them the sole criterion of life and death. In spite of what legal definitions may provide, it's arguable that a human being is not dead until all three of the body's main systems (brain, lung, heart) have stopped.

Would you take a moment to do what you can for the Torreses?

There's good news today: the baby kicked!


Thank you, and to all your great father's out there: thank you for protecting, leading, being faithful and loving to your wives and children.

It's not said often enough and frankly, I'm tired of you guys getting kicked to the curb all the time.

Thanks for blogging about this, RC. The Washington Post had a long, respectful article about the Torreses last week. The word "heroic" gets thrown around too easily, but Jason Torres is truly a hero for shouldering an immense financial burden in order to save his child — and there is no guarantee that the child will survive. The Torres Fund is truly a worthy cause, and I also hope CL readers can donate to it.

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On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

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This page contains a single entry by Richard Chonak published on June 21, 2005 11:47 AM.

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