Saturday, 22 December 2012

A little compassion for Christmas?

There's been a lot of coverage this week of the case of Sally Roberts and her son Neon. Sally's fight to delay radiotherapy treatment for her son Neon, in the belief the treatment will cause more harm than good, has been overturned. Such is her conviction that the treatment would cause lasting damage to her son that she ran away with him rather than allow him to face the treatment. Now returned to his father, Neon will have the treatment against his mother's wishes.

When I first heard about this case my reaction was Sally was behaving in a pretty irresponsible and stupid way. Now that I've read more about it, I still don't agree with her actions, but I do feel very sorry for her. We mustn't lose sight of the fact that this a mother who cares very deeply about her son and feels passionately that radiotherapy is the wrong thing for him. She may not be right, but I think it is wrong to vilify her or accuse her of not caring whether her son dies - she is desperate to keep her son alive and healthy. 

It must be appalling to find yourself in this situations - your child is terminally ill and you find yourself having to cope with the horror of that while being vilified by the media for doing something that you passionately feel is right. She's even being accused of playing to the cameras and of being media hungry, because she dared to put on a bit of make up and brush her hair before appearing in court. The media have been pretty disrespectful to the little boy in this case, too - headlines like 'Cancer Boy' are so heartless - he has a name, and is a person, and shouldn't be referred to like this.

It's easy to judge as we all sit down to Christmas dinner with our healthy families.Sally Robert's son is dying, and I don't think anyone can imagine how that must feel, without having walked in her steps. I wish her and Neon well and hope this sad situation has a happy outcome.

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