Makayla Sault made headlines last year when, after undergoing 12 weeks of chemotherapy to treat her acute lymphoblastic leukemia, she stopped treatment in May, opting instead for "traditional" medicine. The 11-year-old member of the First Nations tribe in Canada died of an apparent stroke Sunday, which her family says is the result of the "harsh side effects that 12 weeks of chemotherapy inflicted on her body," not from the cancer itself. In fact, they say she "was on her way to wellness," but the chemo had done "irreversible damage to her heart and major organs." A spokesman for the family says Makayla had no signs of cancer when she died. Now a local coroner is investigating precisely what killed her, though a spokeswoman for the office of the chief coroner in Ontario says it's a routine inquest, reports ABC News.
"I know that what I have can kill me, but I don't want to die in a hospital in chemo, weak and sick," Makayla said in a YouTube video last year. "Oh, the biggest part is that Jesus told me that I am healed so it doesn't matter what anybody says. God the Creator has the final say over my life." Makayla instead went to the Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, Fla., whose approach is to cure cancer with a positive attitude and a raw, plant-based organic diet, the Toronto Star reports. One pediatric oncologist says it's unlikely that chemotherapy drugs would cause a stroke, especially months after the treatment had been stopped. But, he says, it is possible that if she still had leukemia, cardiac complications could be one side effect. (A 17-year-old in Connecticut is being forced to continue with her chemo after running away from treatment.)