In Memory of Teresa

Mar 27, 2017 | AFE Stories, In Memory

Teresa has made an impact on others that has spanned the globe. Although 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’s 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. She was educated, well read, compassionate, thoughtful, and always willing to render help when needed. Her friends describe has warm and genuine with a beautiful smile and a great laugh. 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.

teresaclarkfamily(edit)Independent and very capable, she bought her first home and moved in with her beloved Golden Retriever, Carley. After settling in to her home and career, she looked forward to the day when she would meet her match to share in the life she had built for herself.

Teresa was introduced to Dave through a mutual friend at a Penn State football game. It wasn’t long before the two were dating. They soon married and began to plan for the family they dreamed of. One of Dave’s fondest memories was 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. Together they watched their son 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 assumed the immediate role of a concerned and selfless mother and as soon as Rocco was delivered and asked, “What is his heart rate?” Sadly, she wouldn’t get to learn he was in perfect health. She suffered a devastating AFE and passed an hour after his delivery.

Dave was no stranger to loss after having lost his father as a young adult. The sudden loss of Teresa was only overshadowed by his immense love for his son. Almost instantly he knew he had to be the best father and make Teresa proud.

Just weeks after Dave brought Rocco home from the hospital, he was connected to the AFE Foundation, just months into its inception. He quickly pledged his support for the new organization. His raw honesty and openness allowed the foundation to create resources and guides that weren’t yet available for fathers and families like theirs.

Dave and Rocco Edited WebsiteIn addition to helping the foundation Dave wanted to honor Teresa by doing something she loved. Dave and some of her closest friends created Runnin’ 4 Rocco- a team of runners to participate in the annual Baltimore Running Festival, an event Teresa had run for years. What began as way to comfort one another in the wake of her passing quickly grew to support other families whose lives were also touched by AFE. In addition to supporting other families, the funds raised by participants went to benefit the AFE Foundation.

For seven years, Runnin’ 4 Rocco hosted over 600 participants who ran thousands of miles. Over $65,000 was raised to help develop and underwrite the Amniotic Fluid Embolism Registry, a database of AFE cases in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine. Runnin’ 4 Rocco also inspired many other families to follow suit and soon families all over the world were active and raising awareness and funds. 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 many lives that have been touched by her story for years to come.

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