The 11-year-old aboriginal girl, Makayla Sault, who chose indigenous medicine over chemotherapy for treating leukemia, died an early death on January 19. A resident of Ontario and a member of New Credit First Nation, Sault hit national headlines in 2014 when she refused to continue her chemo treatment and asked her parents to opt for alternative medicine instead.
In May, Sault claimed to have had a vision of Jesus, who apparently told her that she was already healed. She went on to read out a letter via a Youtube clip, sharing with her audience ways in which chemotherapy was killing her body.
According to the family’s statement, Sault died on Monday after suffering a stroke in the early morning hours.
“After a valiant fight, almost a year from diagnosis, our daughter, Makayla Sault suffered a stroke on Sunday morning that she just couldn’t recover from.… Surrounded by the love and support of her family, her community and her nation – on Monday, January 19 at 1:50 PM, in her 12th year, Makayla completed her course. She is now safely in the arms of Jesus,” read the statement.
Sault was undergoing chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia at a hospital in Hamilton last year when she decided to stop the treatment after suffering severe side effects.
“Chemotherapy did irreversible damage to her heart and major organs. This was the cause of the stroke,” the family statement said. “We continue to support Makayla’s choice to leave chemotherapy. At this time we request privacy from the media while we mourn this tragic loss.”
McMaster Children’s Hospital got in touch with local child welfare authorities, after Sault’s unusual decision, to convince her to resume chemo. However, an Ontario Court decision, with regards to another First Nation girl who had refused chemotherapy, declared aboriginal parents have the constitutionally protected right to opt for traditional treatments for their own children. The hospital then backed off and decided against appealing the ruling.
“Everyone who knew Makayla was touched by this remarkable girl. Her loss is heart-breaking,” hospital president Peter Fitzgerald said in a statement. “Our deepest sympathy is extended to Makayla’s family.”
Sault’s case is the second at McMaster Children’s Hospital, where medical professionals have tried to force chemotherapy on a child. In the first case, the girl’s mother called off the treatment and flew her to Florida in order to avail of alternative medicine.
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