Thank you to Natalie Cameron for sharing her story with us.
My name is Natalie Cameron and on Easter Sunday, 2013, I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. I was transferred to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital immediately, and after undergoing surgery to place a central line into my bloodstream I began chemotherapy on the Tuesday following that Easter Morning diagnosis.
To summarize my experience, I spent a total of nine months in the hospital and was treated with intense chemotherapy, spinal chemotherapy, radiation and finally a bone marrow transplant that forced me to be away from home for an additional four months so that I could be near the hospital in Ann Arbor.
I was 17 when I was diagnosed, and of course had ample time to do research about my disease on the Internet. I was at a teaching hospital and my case was presented each and every day in my hospital room to my entire treatment team. As you can imagine, “stem cell” became part of my vocabulary. I understood very well the difference between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. After months of treatment, I learned that I would need a transplant of bone marrow stem cells to save my life. None of my three siblings were a match, so a very brave man from Germany provided me with his marrow. The team could have used his blood to create stem cells, but my prognosis was better if he would offer the more intensive gift of his marrow.
I am sharing my testimony because I think it is very important that through the efforts of Right to Life Michigan and other prolife groups like them, I do understand the difference between stem cells in general and embryonic stem cells. I am a devoted Christian who believes that God affects cures and miracles and often uses the world of advanced research and medicine for His miracles. If I had been diagnosed with this disease just a few short years ago, it would have been a death sentence. Dedicated researchers and medical personnel have developed treatments so that now I am in complete remission and am enjoying life as a thankful 19-year-old young woman.
One day, a well-meaning visitor tried to comfort me by sharing that advances were being made in human embryonic stem cell research and possible treatments for leukemia might be a result. I shuddered at the casual contemplation of trading the life of one individual in order to save another. Since I believe that a person exists upon the joining of two sets of 23 chromosomes I must say that I would prefer death, trusting my spirit and resurrection to Christ, then to the destruction of human life on my behalf.
I watched as my family worried day after day if I was going to beat the cancer, but I am thankful everyday that I was raised to believe in the sanctity of all life, which of course also helped me to fight and not give up on my own life. I am 100 percent in favor of medical advancement, but since I trust the word of God, I believe that we can do great things to alleviate the devastation of disease without breaking God’s laws and by respecting life in every stage from conception to the very moment before death.
Please share my testimony if it can be of any help in spreading the sanctity of life message you so passionately espouse.