Cancer Survivor: I’d Rather Die Than Trade Someone Else’s Life For My Own

Bioethics   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Mar 24, 2015   |   6:26PM   |   Lansing, MI

In 2013, Natalie Cameron was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which is a type of cancer that starts in the bone marrow but can quickly spread into the blood. Unfortunately, if AML goes untreated it can become fatal within a few months.

Cameron was 17-years-old when she found out about the cancer and was transferred to C.S. Children’s Hospital in Michigan. She explained her experience like this: “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.”

nataliecameronShe continued, “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.”

Thankfully, medical personnel were able to develop treatments for Cameron and now she is 19-years-old and in complete remission. However, she shared with Michigan Right to Life about an encounter she had with a visitor who suggested that human embryonic research could save her life.



She said, “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.”

Cameron concluded, “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.”

Not only is embryonic stem cell research an unethical practice, it is also ineffective.


Chuck Donovan, the president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List said, “For decades, stem cells obtained by destroying unique, living human beings were heralded for their potential ability to cure numerous diseases and conditions. However, while funding for this morally objectionable research initially boomed, efficacious therapies did not.” Contrastingly, there has been huge success with adult stem cell research.

Dr. David Prentice, a stem cell research expert, said, “Besides treatments associated with cancers and anemias, adult stem cells are now showing success at treating heart damage, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, juvenile diabetes, and dozens of other diseases. And by the way, adult stem cells also have the only reported case of successful treatment of a Parkinson’s patient documented in the scientific literature.”