14-year-old Valentina Maureira is tired of living with cystic fibrosis, and she made a plea over social media for her country to let her “sleep forever.” The message (watch below) quickly went viral and got her a meeting with the president of Chile, the one person who could fulfill her wish.
Maureira was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was just six years old. For the past eight years, she’s fought with the fatal illness.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that attacks by producing a thick mucus that can block air passages or the pancreas, which in turn prevents natural enzymes from breaking down food during digestion. The condition requires strict management, and it greatly decreases the patient’s life expectancy.
According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, thanks to improved medical treatments, many patients can expect to live into their 30s or 40s. Unfortunately, Valentina Maureira is not one of those patients.
Doctors claim Maureira will likely live another three and a half years, when she’ll be 17 years old. Until then, she’ll face constant headaches, vomiting, and hospitalization. According to Reuters, she finally decided to put a message on Facebook, personally asking the President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, for authorization for euthanasia.
“I am asking to speak urgently to the president because I am tired of living with this sickness and she can authorize the injection to put me to sleep forever.”
The president visited Maureira in the hospital. She didn’t grant the teenager’s wish, but made sure the health ministry would be in contact with the family to make sure Valentina gets the best possible treatment.
A spokesman for the Bachelet government explained that authorizing Valentina’s euthanasia was strictly against the law.
“We have to be completely clear, the current norm, the current law in Chile does not allow the government to agree to a request of this nature. But what are we doing? The health ministry is in constant contact with Valentina’s family, and we will provide all the emotional and psychological support and medical treatment to improve her living conditions.”
Maureira’s father was surprised by the Facebook message. His son already died from the disease. He explained to local Radio Bio Bio a little bit about the treatment Valentina has already been through.
“She has already had five operations… which have caused her a lot of suffering and pain. It was promised that things would get better, but for her it was worse.”
According to CNN, the father is still holding out hope that Maureira can receive a lung transplant to save her life.
In the meantime, Valentina Maureira’s Facebook message is causing a national debate on euthanasia. Chile’s population is 66 percent Catholic, giving the church a strong influence over social policy. Chile not only bans euthanasia, but it is one of the few countries in the world to outlaw abortion in all circumstances.
Hopefully, Valentina Maureira message will raise awareness of the deadly disease and the need to find a cure.
[Image via Facebook]