The last hope for Jahi McMath to be kept on a ventilator may come from a former Long Island hairdresser who runs a brain-injury treatment center dedicated to Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman whose case sparked a fierce nationwide end-of-life debate.

On Tuesday, the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network said publicly for the first time that it has been helping Jahi's family for weeks to find a place to transfer the 13-year-old Oakland girl declared brain-dead by doctors. The network has worked "in relative silence for the sake of the sensitivity of her case."

"Jahi McMath has been labeled a 'deceased' person. Yet she retains all the functional attributes of a living person, despite her brain injury," the organization said. "This includes a beating heart, circulation and respiration, the ability to metabolize nutrition and more. Jahi is a living human being."

Nailah Winkfield, center, mother of 13-year-old Jahi McMath, greets well-wishers outside Children’s Hospital Oakland, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 in
Nailah Winkfield, center, mother of 13-year-old Jahi McMath, greets well-wishers outside Children's Hospital Oakland, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 in Oakland, Calif. (D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group)

New Beginnings founder and owner Allyson Scerri shared a statement on her Facebook page Tuesday explaining how her Medford, N.Y.-based facility "is about preserving life and treating brain-injured patients with care and dignity."

"We do encourage every citizen to take the time to educate themselves more clearly on the issues of what brain death is and what it is not," the New Beginnings statement read. "This child has been defined as a deceased person, yet she has all the functional attributes of a living person despite her brain injury."

Jahi's attorney identified the facility in court documents Monday, when a judge extended a restraining order to Jan. 7, at least temporarily preventing Children's Hospital Oakland from removing the girl from a ventilator. Jahi came to the hospital Dec. 9 for tonsil surgery and two other procedures to remove throat and nasal tissue, all to treat her sleep apnea. But complications led to six doctors declaring her brain-dead. The hospital has said it will not treat a "dead" body, and has asked for the life support to be removed.

The hospital has said it would transfer Jahi if her family and attorney meet certain provisions.

While Scerri has not returned multiple calls for comment, it's clear from court documents and social media comments she is interested in bringing Jahi to her facility.

On Dec. 27, Scerri posted "LETS SAVE JAHI" on her Facebook page and shared a link to a Jahi page. Two days later, she posted: "We can not let this 13 year old girl die........New Beginnings will take her under our WINGS." The facility even created a YouTube video and message to Jahi and her family.

By Tuesday, Scerri wrote: "Jahi is responding to her mothers voice and touch...........Brain dead REALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

A statement from the facility said they hope to release further comments later Tuesday about the "little angel who deserves a chance to be cared for with dignity and respect."

Scerri founded New Beginnings -- an outpatient facility designed for patients with traumatic brain injury, and physical and cognitive disabilities -- in 2011, four years after her father fell off his motorcycle and suffered a severe brain injury. The hair stylist became his primary caregiver and struggled to find adequate resources for him, according to the New Beginnings website.

At its opening in April 2011, Scerri told Newsday, "My goal is to offer one place where someone with traumatic brain injuries can come to get all the therapies they need under one roof."

Chris Dolan, right, attorney for the family of 13-year-old Jahi McMath, conducts a press conference with uncle Omari Sealey, left, and grandmother Sandra
Chris Dolan, right, attorney for the family of 13-year-old Jahi McMath, conducts a press conference with uncle Omari Sealey, left, and grandmother Sandra Chatman outside Children's Hospital Oakland, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 in Oakland, Calif. (D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group)

The brother and mother of Schiavo participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony, marking the first medical facility in the country dedicated to the Florida woman. Schiavo, who was in a vegetative state and not declared brain-dead, was kept on life support for 15 years before being removed against the wishes of her siblings and parents.

Schiavo's brother Bobby Schindler, executive director of Terri's Network, disputed the idea of "brain death."

"Families and individuals must educate themselves regarding their rights as patients, the advance documentation that must be completed prior to any medical procedure as well as how to ensure ... any patient's rights," he said.

"Every person needs to understand that medical accidents happen every day. Families and individuals must be more aware of the issue of accountability and patient rights."

In a letter to Jahi's attorney Christopher Dolan, Scerri told him the facility would accept Jahi into its outpatient center and eventually move her into the Brendan House facility, now under construction, for long-term care.

"We will be providing Jahi McMath 24-hour licensed nursing staff and licensed respiratory therapists," she wrote. "We are also hiring a pediatrician who will accept her as his patient."

The family still must get Jahi to the facility. A letter from Medway Air Ambulance quotes a price of $31,910 to transport Jahi from Oakland to Long Island.

Medway flight coordinator Terry Hoard confirmed his company quoted the family a price and would have no problem transporting a brain-dead patient across country.

Contact Matthias Gafni at 925-952-5026. Follow him at Twitter.com/mgafni.