Jada Johnson, 11, refuses chemotherapy, may be forced back into treatment

Jada Johnson’s family is worried the 11-year-old girl will be apprehended by the Children’s Aid Society after they refused chemotherapy in favour of traditional indigenous medicine. Johnson is from same community as Makayla Sault, whose decision to refuse chemo earlier this year made national headlines.

Jada Johnson, 11, has refused chemo to treat leukemia and opted for traditional indigenous medicine

Jada Johnson and her mother Wahsontiio (Deneen) Hill are worried that she will be apprehended by the Children's Aid Society and forced back into chemotherapy. (Two Row Times)

Jada Johnson’s family is worried their 11-year-old daughter may be apprehended by the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) after refusing chemo and turning to traditional indigenous medicine.

The family says they initially thought that decision was supported by authorities. However, in a message on Facebook, her mother Wahsontiio (Deneen) Hill said on Friday that McMaster Children's Hospital in Hamilton, Ont. and CAS are going to court to try to force her daughter into protective services and back into chemotherapy.

In a letter to community members seeking to raise funds the new treatments, Hill said Johnson was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in August. She says she was told that, without chemotherapy, she would have about six months to live.

"The chemo ravaged her body and spirit. And knowing the side effects of chemo, weighed heavily on my mind," she wrote. 

After 12 days of chemotherapy, Hill says she took her daughter out of the hospital and decided to pursue traditional medicine treatments. 

The family is from the Six Nations First Nation community near Brantford, Ont., which is about 30 kilometres southwest of Hamilton. It's the same community that rallied behind 11-year-old Makayla Sault earlier this year when she received the same diagnosis.
Makayla Sault, from New Credit First Nation in Ontario, was diagnosed with leukemia in January. (Connie Walker/CBC)
​Sault's refusal of chemotherapy earlier this year made national headlines. In a letter to doctors, she begged them to stop treatment.

“I am writing this letter to tell you that this chemo is killing my body and I cannot take it anymore,” she wrote. 

Although CAS investigated her case, it did not go to court and did not apprehend or force her back into care.

"This is a loving family, we felt their choice to use traditional medicines was within their right. We also felt that if Makayla was apprehended, the stress and other effects on that child would be terrible." said Andrew Koster, executive director of the Brant Children's Aid Society, in May. "For a child that is ill, they don’t need that. She needs to be with her family."​​ Koster is also involved in Johnson's case  

Sault has not returned to chemotherapy and remains at home with her family.

Johnson and her family are currently in the U.S. seeking alternative treatment at the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida. Hill says she is unclear what is happening with the court proceedings.

CAS and McMaster Children's Hospital declined to be interviewed.


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