Gold Medalist Marieke Vervoort has Died via Euthanasia

Paralympic athlete Marieke Vervoort has died at 40 via euthanasia. This is why she chose to end her life.

Her death sparked an outpouring of reactions on social media

Belgian paralympic athlete Marieke Veervort has been euthanized at age 40. The 2012 London Paralympics gold and silver medalist suffered from an incurable, degenerative spinal disease that paralyzed her legs. In a 2016 interview, she explained her decision to turn to euthanasia. Euthanasia is legal in Belgium since 2002. She announced her intentions after the Rio Games in 2016 to follow that path if her condition worsened. Vervoort signed the paperwork to be euthanized back in 2008.

“I’m still enjoying every little moment. When the moment comes that I have more bad days than good days, then I have my euthanasia papers. I hope euthanasia is also something for every country that it means - not murder - that it means that it gives a feeling of rest to the people. If I didn't have those papers, I think I did already suicide because it's very hard to live with so many pain and suffering and this unsureness. My view is really bad. I see only 20%. I have a lot of epilepsy seizures. What is the next thing coming? I am really scared. But those papers give me a lot of rest in my mind because I know when it's enough for me, I have those papers. So, I find it’s a good thing because it's not easy to get them,” Marieke Veervort says before her death.

The athlete had been transparent about her condition and its limitations for years and was open about how she intended to die if her suffering increased, and that method was assisted dying. It’s administered if the patient suffers from an incurable condition that causes “constant, unbearable physical or psychological suffering,” and only with their express consent, without external pressures. The announcement of Vervoort's death sparked an outpouring of reactions on social media.