Roosevelt Elementary Mom, 34 and Facing Paralysis, Receives Support from School Community
A Gofundme campaign and Instagram event have already raised close to $17,000 but more is needed
May 19, 2023
May 4, 2023 - We received an email today from Darcy O'Brien-Holt:
"I'm a Santa Monica resident and mom of a Roosevelt Elementary 1st grader. In late January, I found out that one of my son's kindergarten classmates was experiencing a medical emergency in the family: his mom, Tereza, had suffered a massive hemorrhage due to a condition I'd never heard of called AVM."
"I learned she was in the ICU fighting for her life at only 34, unable to take care of her amazing boys, ages 7 and 13. Since then, Tereza has made significant strides at a rehabilitation center, but she remains paralyzed and now uses a wheelchair. As you can imagine, her battle to get her life back has just begun as she returns home on Saturday (May 6) after a four month separation from her boys."
In the accompanying press release, Darcy outlined how a group of Roosevelt Elementary moms is planning a benefit bake sale on the corner of 15th Street and Montana Avenue on Sunday, May 7th from 2-4 p.m. to support Tereza Svarcova Bellodi. She has received a diagnosis of quadriplegic. An arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is a tangle of blood vessels that irregularly connects arteries and veins, disrupting blood flow and oxygen circulation.
Bellodi has been separated from her 7 and 13-year-old sons, who attend Roosevelt and Lincoln, but will be reunited with them on May 6th, when she is discharged from the rehabilitation center where she has been laboring to regain her mobility. "I really wish I was home, in my bed, with Marko and Lucas cuddled up next to me," Bellodi posted to her Facebook page on April 15th. "I've had that image in my head all day today, and on many other days before that...and despite the difficulties of returning in this condition, I just can't wait."
The funds raised at this #TeamTerezaBellodi (see https://www.instagram.com/teamterezabellodi/) event will go towards purchasing the $5,000 electric wheelchair Bellodi will need to best navigate her home and maximize her independence. While a Gofundme campaign (https://www.gofundme.com/f/lifesaving-surgery-for-tereza-svarcova) has raised close to $17,000, Bellodi is facing medical bills from her ICU stay alone that add up to double that amount, according to Gofundme organizer Gera Rozanova.
#TeamTerezaBellodi formed in February, when local attorney and mom Benny Roshan gathered a group of Roosevelt moms in a WhatsApp chat. "Her boys are her world," said participant Valerie Amos. "When I found out that she was sick and had to be away from them for so long, I was compelled to help with anything I could to make her life easier so that she only needed to focus on her recovery–and getting back to her life as a mom."
Throughout the harrowing journey Bellodi has been through, her own mom, Brona Fanelle, has been at her daughter's and grandsons' side. In a recent video post to Facebook, Bellodi thanked her friends for their support, then added that she will spend "the rest of her life showing [her] family gratitude for how they have shown up."