Paralympic Gold Medallist Marieke Vervoort Ends Her Life By Euthanasia

Paralympic Gold Medallist Marieke Vervoort Ends Her Life By Euthanasia

by | Oct 24, 2019

Belgian Paralympian Marieke Vervoort has died at the age of 40, after taking her own life via euthanasia.

The gold medal-winning athlete had suffered for decades with a degenerative spinal disease – an incurable condition that left her paralysed from the waist down. She also experienced epileptic seizures and struggled to sleep due to extreme physical pain.

“Despite her physical limitations, she worked out an impressive sports career,” a statement from Vervoort’s hometown of Diest said.

“Marieke opted for euthanasia a few years ago and responded to her choice on Tuesday evening.”

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Her efforts in wheelchair racing saw Vervoort take home gold and silver medals during the 2012 Paralympics in London, as well as two more medals at the 2016 Paralympic games in Rio. In a previous interview with the BBC, she explained how sport had played a huge role her day-to-day pain management.

“It can be that I feel very, very bad, I get an epileptic attack, I cry, I scream because of pain. I need a lot of painkillers, Valium, morphine,” she told the publication.

“A lot of people ask me how is it possible that you can have such good results and still be smiling with all the pain and medication that eats your muscles. For me, sports, and racing with a wheelchair — it’s a kind of medication.”

Belgium is just one of five countries where human euthanasia is legal. The others include the Netherlands, Colombia, Luxembourg and Canada.

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