The 11-year-old Ontario girl who quit chemotherapy treatments last year in favour of traditional First Nations medicine has died.
A statement from the family published in the Two Row Times said Makayla died on Monday at 1:50 p.m. after suffering a stroke Sunday morning.
“Makayla was on her way to wellness, bravely fighting toward holistic well-being after the harsh side effects that 12 weeks of chemotherapy inflicted on her body,” the family said in its statement published by the Six Nations newpaper.
“Chemotherapy did irreversible damage to her heart and major organs. This was the cause of the stroke. 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.”
Makayla was the first of two First Nations children to refuse chemotherapy for treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton. Instead, the Sault family pursued indigenous medicine and other alternative therapies to care for their daughter.
The family of a Six Nations girl, who also rejected chemotherapy, released a statement published by the Two Row Times. “Condolences to her mother, father, brothers and the families on each side. We mourn your loss. I offer you strength to endure through your dark time. That one day you can adjust to the loss in your family circle.”
The girl cannot be named due to a court-imposed publication ban. Last November, a Brantford judge ruled that he would not interfere with a Six Nations mother’s decision to seek traditional healing rather than chemotherapy for her 11-year-old daughter.
In what was called a landmark and precedent-setting case, Ontario Court Justice Gethin Edward dismissed an application by McMaster Children’s Hospital to force the child into care to receive chemotherapy.