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.