A fourteen-year-old British girl with cancer won a legal battle shortly before her death, being granted the ability to cryogenically preserve her body in case of a cure in the future.
“I have been asked to explain why I want this unusual thing done,” wrote the girl in a letter to Justice Peter Jackson, shortly before her death in October. “I am only 14 years old and I don’t want to die but I know I am going to die.”
“I think being cryopreserved gives me a chance to be cured and woken up – even in hundreds of years’ time,” she continued. “I don’t want to be buried underground. I want to live and live longer and I think that in the future they may find a cure for my cancer and wake me up.”
“I want to have this chance,” the girl concluded. “This is my wish.”
Jackson, who cited “the valiant way in which she was facing her predicament”, took just under a week and a half to come to a conclusion on the case, and the girl’s family were permitted to spend around £37,000 on the procedure for “infinite” preservation.
Though the girl’s mother supported her wishes, her father was reportedly against the decision.
“Even if the treatment is successful and she is brought back to life in let’s say 200 years, she may not find any relative and she might not remember things and she may be left in a desperate situation given that she is only 14 years old and will be in the United States of America,” said the father, before he eventually accepted the decision.
Her father, who is divorced from her mother, had not seen the girl in six years before she became ill, and he was denied the ability to see her body after death.
“It was a difficult process. Some might say the girl’s mother’s attention was directed towards that procedure rather than grieving at this time,” said the girl’s lawyer, Zoe Fleetwood, before adding that it was a “great privilege” to work on the case and that the girl called the judge “Mr Hero Peter Jackson.”
Citing the unfamiliarity of hospital staff in dealing with the body, Jackson expressed support for a “proper regulation” of the procedure in the future.