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Paralympic champion Marieke Vervoort ends life by euthanasia

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Belgian Paralympic champion Marieke Vervoort ended her life through euthanasia at the age of 40 on Tuesday, Belgian media reported.

Euthanasia is legal in Belgium and the spiky-haired athlete announced her intentions after the Rio Games in 2016 to follow that path if her degenerative condition worsened her suffering.

But she said at the time that sport had given her a reason to keep living.

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“I’m still enjoying every little moment. When the moment comes when I have more bad days than good days, then I have my euthanasia papers, but the time is not there yet,” she told a news conference during the 2016 Paralympic Games.

Vervoort suffered a degenerative muscle disease that caused constant pain, paralysis in her legs and left her barely able to sleep, and gradually her life became torture.

She was just 14 years old when diagnosed but Vervoort pursued a sporting life with passion — playing wheelchair basketball, swimming and racing in triathlons.

She won the 100m gold and 200m silver wheelchair races at the 2012 London Games, as well as the 400m silver and 100m bronze in Brazil four years later.

AFP/File / YASUYOSHI CHIBA Vervoort with her 400m silver in Rio

By then her eyesight had deteriorated and she suffered from epileptic attacks, and she said that Rio would be her last competition.

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“After the Paralympic Games, when I quit, I’m going to enjoy every little moment in my life and I’m going to put more energy in my family and friends, which I couldn’t do with top sports because I had to train every day,” she said in 2016.

Vervoort signed the paperwork to be euthanised back in 2008.

She said in Rio that access to legal assisted dying had given her the courage to continue living for as long as she had, and insisted the practice should not be characterised as “murder”.

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“It gives a feeling of rest to people,” she said then.

“If I hadn’t gotten those (euthanasia) papers I think I would already have committed suicide because it’s very hard to live with so much pain and suffering and this unsureness.

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“I know when it’s enough for me, I have those papers.”


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America could be on the verge of a huge shift to the left — here’s what you can expect

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A new socialist movement is cohering in the US, thanks in large part to the popular class politics of Bernie Sanders. But as that movement grows and progresses, it is bound to run into dangerous obstacles and thorny contradictions. The new US socialist movement is without a single "line" or monolithic political position. That's a strength of the movement, since none of us has all the answers. Still, many people in the movement, ourselves included, feel strongly about certain approaches to strategy. One approach we feel strongly about is what we call "the democratic road to socialism," or the idea that we need to make good use of the democratic structures and processes available to us (and to improve and expand them) in order to advance our cause.A country like the United States has both a well-developed capitalist state, beholden to the capitalist class and armed to the teeth, and mechanisms for democratic participation in that state that allow people to exercise some measure of control over their representatives. Even though their choices are limited, their representatives are bought off by the rich, and the capitalist class holds the entire system hostage with the threat of devastating economic retaliation if things don't go their way, the system does have some basic democratic elements that its citizens largely affirm and occasionally participate in.This is a tricky situation to navigate. If the democratic capitalist state were less developed, it might be possible to convince people to simply storm the gates, tear up the old rules, and start fresh in a socialist society. This is what socialists tried to do in Russia in 1917: the state was weak and after centuries of autocratic rule it didn't have much legitimacy in the eyes of most Russians, so revolutionaries could get popular support for scrapping it and starting over.
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White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney caught on tape saying US is ‘desperate’

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White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was caught on tape admitting that, despite President Donald Trump's policy preferences, the United States is "desperate" for more immigrants, according to a recording obtained by the Washington Post.

He further undermined the administration's claims of its economic prowess, admitting that immigration is necessary for sustained economic growth.

"We are desperate — desperate — for more people," Mulvaney said, according to the post, stressing that it should be legal. "We are running out of people to fuel the economic growth that we've had in our nation over the last four years. We need more immigrants."

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Hawaii holds woman over missing children amid suspicious deaths and ‘doomsday cult’ links

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A 46-year-old American woman with reported links to a doomsday cult and to at least three people whose deaths are being investigated has been arrested in Hawaii over the disappearance of her two children.

Lori Vallow was arrested Thursday on the island of Kauai and charged with felony desertion of the children, 7-year-old Joshua Vallow, who is autistic, and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, police said in a statement.

According to US media reports, the children, who have different fathers, were last seen on September 23, 2019.

Their disappearance was reported in November by the boy's grandparents, who live in Louisiana and had heard nothing from the children for an extended period.

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