Wednesday 28 September 2016

Pain is making athlete 'consider euthanasia'

Published 08/09/2016 | 02:30

Marieke Vervoort, a wheelchair sprinter and 2012 Paralympic gold medallist, has been suffering from a debilitating illness for 20 years that causes paralysis in her legs, leaving her in chronic pain and with recurring fits.
Marieke Vervoort, a wheelchair sprinter and 2012 Paralympic gold medallist, has been suffering from a debilitating illness for 20 years that causes paralysis in her legs, leaving her in chronic pain and with recurring fits.

A Belgian Paralympic athlete has said she is considering euthanasia after appearing in the Rio Games because of her incurable degenerative spinal disease.

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Marieke Vervoort, a wheelchair sprinter and 2012 Paralympic gold medallist, has been suffering from a debilitating illness for 20 years that causes paralysis in her legs, leaving her in chronic pain and with recurring fits.

In July, Vervoort said she has thought about euthanasia, which is legal in Belgium with the written approval of three doctors.

"I will finish my career after Rio. After that, we'll see what life brings and I'll try to make the best of it. I'm starting to think about euthanasia. Despite my illness, I've been able to experience things other people only dream of," she said.

"Everybody sees me laughing and happy and gold medals.

"They don't see the other part of me. I can have lots and lots of pain. I sleep sometimes only 10 minutes. But I still get the gold medal. The secret is here (points to her head)."

Irish Independent

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