She was 11 years old

This is desperately sad. From the Toronto Star:

Makayla Sault, the Ojibwa girl who refused chemotherapy last year in favour of indigenous medicine, died on Monday, with her parents reportedly blaming modern treatment for their daughter’s death.

She was 11 years old.

The Two Row Times reported that the New Credit girl suffered a stroke Sunday morning. In a statement to the paper, her family said: “Chemotherapy did irreversible damage to her heart and major organs. This was the cause of the stroke.”

I doubt that her family knows that.

Makayla was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia last January. She refused chemotherapy at McMaster Children’s Hospital after 12 weeks, opting for indigenous medicine and other alternative therapies, despite the high likelihood she would have been cured through modern treatment.

She was the first of two Ontario First Nations girl to reject chemotherapy to treat her leukemia. “She was a trailblazer,” Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation Chief Bryan LaForme told the Hamilton Spectator. “She sent out a strong message that you as an individual can make your own choices.”

A trailblazer for early death that could have been avoided. That’s not really a trail that needs blazing.

Brant Family and Children’s Services investigated Makayla’s case, but did not intervene, with executive director Andrew Koster telling the Spectator: “We feel Makayla is in a loving, caring home and that they are carrying on with medicine that would be very appropriate for her family.”

Makayla said that chemotherapy was “killing my body” in a letter she read out on a video uploaded to YouTube last year. She had been suffering from the side effects including constant vomiting and weakness.

The treatments sounds miserable and horrendous, as chemo does, but…it would have been temporary, and as I understand it it had a very good shot at curing her altogether, unlike most chemo.

“I have asked my mom and dad to take me off the treatment because I don’t want to go this way anymore,” she said. “I was sick to my stomach all the time and I lost about ten pounds because I couldn’t keep nothing down. I know that what I have can kill me, but I don’t want to die in a hospital in chemo, weak and sick.

“But when Jesus came into my room and he told me not to be afraid, so if I live or if I die I am not afraid. Oh, the biggest part is that Jesus told me that I am healed so it doesn’t matter what anybody says. God, the Creator has the final say over my life.”

She said that since leaving hospital and starting alternative treatments, she was feeling “awesome” and had gained some weight back. “I wish that the doctors would listen to me because I live in this body, and they don’t.”

Ten-year-olds don’t have all the knowledge and judgement needed to make the best medical decisions for themselves. Jesus makes no difference to that, tradition makes no difference to that.


  1. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    “Medicine that would be very appropriate for her family”

    “Medicine that would be very appropriate for her family”

    Do these people who are charged with protecting child welfare even understand what they’re saying?

  2. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    “Medicine that would be very appropriate for her family.”

    I can’t get over this.

  3. Blanche Quizno says

    If “Jesus” comes into your room, scream for help and, for goshsakes, don’t believe anything “it” says!!

  4. themadtapper says

    It infuriates me that the family is blaming the chemotherapy for killing her after stopping halfway through. It would be like busting into an operating room in the middle of an open-heart surgery, wheeling the patient out still opened up, and then blaming the surgery when the patient dies. And not only did they let their own child die, they’re propagating a lie about chemo that could drive other families to avoid chemo and cause even more needless child deaths.

    Also, anyone who believes that girl wrote that letter herself can come buy a bridge from me. I have no doubt the child was suffering from the chemo, and probably did not fully understand why, but all that drivel about Jesus deciding whether or not she lives or dies is not the writing of a child. That’s the writing of a life-long indoctrinated adult.

  5. carlie says

    Those people and their medicine. Sure, it doesn’t work, but it’s appropriate for them.

    “You want your ‘cultural sensitivity’ and ‘tolerance’, liberal assholes? Here you go, we’ll just let people die in the name of what’s ‘appropriate for their families’. See what you’ve done?”

  6. says

    I once had an accident on a mountain in Wales and had to be lifted out by helicopter strapped to a sort of vertical stretcher. That was bloody agony – I felt far worse than I had done before the rescue. I can remember actually thinking, as I was being winched up, “I wish they would just put me down again.” But, as an adult, I would not have made that decision for myself in spite of the pain. Had I been a child I might well have done. I wouldn’t still be here now but some might have thought the decision was “appropriate for me.”

  7. says

    Denying children medical care is no different than denying them food. It’s abuse, and it’s murder if the child dies. When they’re adults, they can choose to kill themselves in that way. But until then, the right of a child to live supercedes the religion, culture and beliefs of the parent.

    I’ve said that before, and I still stand by it.

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