The little girl whose family refused chemo for ‘faith-based’ treatment has died

An 11 year-old Ontario girl, whose family allowed her to refuse chemo treatment in favor of alternative ‘faith based’ medicine for her leukemia, has died this Monday.

An 11 year-old Ontario girl, whose family allowed her to refuse chemo treatment in favor of alternative ‘faith based’ medicine for her leukemia, has died this Monday.

Makayla Sault, who is a member of the First Nations indigenous group based in Canada, made headlines last year when she refused treatment for her lymphoblastic leukemia – a disease that is treatable and has a 90% success rate – with her family’s support. She instead sought out alternative indigenous medicine.

Her family published a statement saying Makayla died on Monday at 1:50 p.m. after suffering a stroke Sunday morning.

“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,” the statement read.


“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.”

Makayla was receiving chemotherapy at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton when she decided to stop the treatment in the spring of 2014 after suffering some side effects.

But in the statement, her family blamed her past chemo treatment as a direct cause of her death.

“Chemotherapy did irreversible damage to her heart and major organs. This was the cause of the stroke,” the family’s 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.”

According to the National Post, there is little evidence to suggest that chemotherapy was responsible for Makayla’s stroke.

There appears to be little to no clinical precedent for chemotherapy drugs prompting a childhood stroke several months after treatment has ceased.

A stroke could be consistent with leukemia, however. As a blood disease, leukemia can form clots that cause stroke. Oncology sources contacted Monday night by the National Post, however, said that Makayla’s specific cancer is not consistent with a fatal stroke — unless the cancer had spread to her brain.

McMaster Children’s Hospital contacted child welfare authorities in an attempt to get her to resume chemotherapy, but an Ontario Court decision in the case of another First Nations girl who also refused chemo ruled aboriginal parents have a constitutionally protected right to choose traditional treatments for their children.

The hospital respected the court’s decision and did not appeal the ruling.

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  1. Pete

    January 21, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Let the punishment fit the crime. Inject them with leukemia and don’t allow them treatment!

  2. Michael Rowe

    January 21, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    You do realize that “First Nations” simply means “Native American,” right?

  3. Arbiter061@yahoo.com

    January 24, 2015 at 8:51 am

    Why is it okay to respect the beliefs of native Americans who allow their children to die but nobody else’s? They let her die. I don’t care what she believed.

    And if we really cared about preserving the values of aboriginal people, then we are we allowing *christian* aboriginals the same right?

    That belief system is not consistent with their oldest traditions, and makes little sense why a non-aboriginal belief system should be preserved when it results in the death of a child, simply because of the genetic background of her and her parents?

  4. Kimi Ann

    January 24, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    How do ignore the fact that the cancer was treatable successfully and then think for one minute your cultural “indigenous” beliefs are going to “cure” it. God created doctors and gave them the wisdom to cure and to treat the cancer. A child does not have the insight at that age to make such a life decision. I have had friends whose only side effects were loss of hair and nausea and throwing, but they are thriving cancer-free. I don’t think parents have the right to let their children make a decision like this. I feel this is more like murder by parents. They may have loved her. But let go of that religious crap and get treatment by doctors who have been given the gift of healing and keeping life sacred. It was not her time to die. They let her die. Crazy!!!!

  5. Kimi Ann

    January 24, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Now you know there is a “political correctness”. We have to go with the flavor of the time.

  6. Kimi Ann

    January 24, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    That’s what I was saying. They just gave the parents the right to let their child die when it was completely treatable. They essentially killed their child in the name of religion? Thou shalt not kill? hmmm

  7. Josh Rayborn

    January 24, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    What a bunch of idiots.

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