LONDON – A judge in the U.K. has granted a dying teenager’s wish to have her body preserved at a facility in Michigan, in hopes that scientists will eventually be able to restore her to life and health.
A 14-year-old cancer victim, whose name has not been released, died last month in a hospital in London. Before her death, the terminally ill girl told her parents that she wanted her body to be preserved so that she could potentially be restored to life one day.
“I am only 14 years old and I don’t want to die but I know I am going to die,” the girl wrote in a letter. “I think being cryo-preserved gives me a chance to be cured and woken up—even in hundreds of years’ time.”
Cryonics, first popularized in the 1960s, is a controversial and unproven technique designed to restore dead people to life in the future. People who decide to be cryonically preserved are, upon death, rushed to special facilities, injected with a special type of anti-freeze fluid that prevents bodily decay, and then stored in vats of cold liquid nitrogen.
To date, the bodies of an estimated 350 deceased people are preserved in cryogenic facilities, and hundreds more have opted for this treatment upon death. Proponents of the practice are confident that advancements in medical technology will allow people to one day be revived.
“Cryonic suspension is a sort of ‘ambulance to the future,’” the organization Cryonics UK says on their website. “Chances are good that the treatment you will require to be revived will be available in the future (just look at how far humanity has come technologically in the past 50-100 years alone, and then project that forwards).”
Prior to her death, the terminally ill 14-year-old girl expressed her desire to live in a future age when a cure for cancer is available.
“I don’t want to be buried underground,” she wrote in her letter. “I want to live and live longer and I think that in the future they may find a cure for my cancer and wake me up. I want to have this chance. This is my wish.”
Following to a legal dispute between the girl’s parents, a British judge stepped in and sided with the girl’s mother, who wanted her daughter to be granted her dying wish. The case, which has received significant media attention, may cause other terminally ill individuals to seek similar body preservation options.
Following her death on October 17, the girl’s body was treated, packed in dry ice, and then flown to the Detroit suburbs for storage in an industrial facility. Prior to her death, the girl appeared confident that she would one day live again.
“I’m dying, but I’m going to come back again in 200 years,” she reportedly told one relative.
Those who do not believe in an afterlife feel that cryonics offers a glimmer of hope.
“Whether cryonics pans out or not, as I age, at least a little part of me can now be thinking, ‘I wonder what’s gonna happen when I die?’” wrote atheistic blogger Tim Urban in a blog post earlier this year. “Atheists aren’t supposed to get to think that. Humans don’t need a huge amount of hope to feel hopeful—they just need something to cling onto. Just enough to be able to have the ‘So you’re saying there’s a chance!’ feeling.”
Bible-believing Christians, however, trust that physical death is not the end.
Hebrews 9:27 says, “[I]t is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment,” and 2 Corinthians 5:10 states, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
Jesus also declared in John 3:16-19, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” and Romans 6:22 teaches, “But now being made free from sin and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope,” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 likewise encourages. “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.”