Aboriginal girl cancer-free after landmark legal fight, says family

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A young Six Nations girl, who was at the center of a landmark legal case in 2014, is reportedly cancer-free just months after her parents pulled her from chemotherapy.

 The 11-year-old girl, identified only as J.J., suffers from a rare form of leukemia that doctors insisted required chemotherapy. According to court documents, doctors said chemotherapy offers a 90-to-95-per-cent chance of a cure, while they were unaware of anyone who survived the disease without treatment.

Despite that prognosis, the girl’s mother, acting as her substitute decision-maker, opted for traditional aboriginal medicine over hospital treatments. She pulled J.J. from chemo and announced plans to take her to a “Lifestyle Transformation Program” at a Florida spa.

Doctors opposed the move and the issue came to a head in court. In November, the judge in Hamilton Health Sciences Corp. v. D.H. ruled the mother had the Charter-protected aboriginal right to choose traditional medicine.

On Friday, J.J.’s mother shared a written statement reading, in part: “It’s now six months following the diagnoses with our only choice of treatment. We received the biopsy results yesterday – NO VISIBLE CANCER!!!”

According to Two Row Times, J.J. has followed a regiment using aboriginal medicine, ceremonial healing, and nutritional therapies, including a sugar-free vegan diet.

Two Row Times also said Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children has been monitoring J.J.’s health, although the hospital would not confirm that.

A pediatric oncologist said that J.J.’s leukemia likely went into remission after her initial stint of chemotherapy.

“There’s lots that traditional healing can offer in terms of symptom management and support, but based on my scientific training I think it’s exceptionally unlikely that traditional medicine has cured her of her disease,” Dr. David Dix, a clinical professor at the University of British Columbia, told the Toronto Star.

Dix added that there’s a “100-per-cent” likelihood of the cancer returning.

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