Mary Theresa (Terri) was born June 21, 1953 to John R. and Mary T. Fields at Central Maternity Hospital in Bronx, New York. When Terri was two years old her family moved to Westchester County, New York and Terri grew up in what was then known as the Sprain Valley community in Yonkers. She attended the Yonkers public school system and in her high school years took a part time job at Floyd’s Supermarket where she met a co-worker and future husband Vincent Garofolo. Terri and Vince had three children: Marion, Mary, and Vincent Jr., who grew up, secured their educations, married terrific spouses, and blessed them with seven beautiful grandchildren.
In 1977, at the age of 24, Terri was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. At that time there was just the basic treatment of watching your diet, getting sufficient exercise, and taking insulin injections to help regulate and control the blood sugar levels in the body. On the way home from the doctor’s office, realizing the seriousness of the situation, Vince asked Terri, “What are we going to do?” True to her military bloodlines she didn’t hesitate a minute and said, “I’m going to fight this!” Overwhelmed by her tenacious spirit and resolve he replied, “No, we’re going to fight this!” And so it began a 35 year battle with diabetes that lasted till she took her last breath on April 10, 2013, but the war wages on.
On that fateful Wednesday afternoon Vince established the Terri’s Tears Charitable Trust Foundation to continue the fight against diabetes. He never disclosed his vision of the foundation to Terri because she was extremely private about her condition. He knew he would become a casualty of the “war” if she found out what was going through his mind as he watched her condition become progressively worse the last six months of her life.
The purpose of the Terri’s Tears foundation is simple and is spelled out in its mission statement of only 9 words: …because WE have to find a Cure for Diabetes. Vince felt with all the support Terri and he received from their children, their parents, siblings, family, friends, and members of the medical profession, why not try to give something back.
What has been accomplished so far, in such a short period of time, has been remarkable and as the foundation continues to grow, what will be accomplished in the future, only time will tell. We can only hope and pray that the generosity from so many people will continue to increase year after year. Rest assured that when we do find a Cure for Diabetes, it will be then and only then, that we will write the last chapter of this legacy called “Terri's Story”.