Terminally Ill Girl Who Chose To Die Passes Away At Home

| by Karin Sun
Julianna Snow at home with her fatherJulianna Snow at home with her father

A terminally ill Washington state girl who asked her parents to go to heaven instead of the hospital in 2015 has died peacefully at home.

Julianna Snow, 5, died in her bedroom at home on June 14, CNN reported. Her mother, Dr. Michelle Moon, said the end came quickly for her daughter, who had spent the last 18 months before her death in a hospice.

"She got sick very suddenly and it was back to the same battle of helping her breathe," Moon wrote in a text to CNN. "This time, she didn't bounce back -- she got worse and worse and worse and was gone in just over 24 [hours]."

"We had the full support of hospice and we had the things we needed to keep her comfortable," Moon added. "She died at home, in her princess room and in my arms. I don't know that she would have wanted it any other way."

Julianna was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome, a neurodegenerative disorder, when she was 2 years old. By the time she was 4 years old, she had lost the use of her arms and legs and had difficulty breathing. Unable to swallow on her own, she had to be fed through a tube to her stomach.

Doctors at Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland, Oregon, told Julianna's parents that they would have to make a difficult decision the next time their daughter got an infection that interfered with her breathing.

They were told that they could bring their daughter to the hospital, where she would likely endure painful medical procedures and may still pass away. Alternatively, they could let her die on her own terms at home.

According to a blog Moon posted in July 2015, she and Julianna had a conversation in February of that year about the possibility of the youngster dying. During that conversation, the girl reportedly expressed her wish to die at home instead of going back to the hospital.

"God will take care of me," the child said, according to the blog. "He's in my heart."

Moon, a neurologist, and her husband, Steve, an Air Force fighter pilot, decided to respect their daughter's wishes.

Julianna's story was read by millions and sparked a national conversation in 2015 about the right of terminally ill children to choose death on their own terms, CNN notes. Although most online commenters were supportive of the family's decision, a group of people suffering from neuromuscular disorders started the "Dear Julianna" Facebook campaign to ask that her life be prolonged.

"I am stunned and heartbroken, but also thankful," Moon wrote about her daughter's death in another blog entry on June 14. "I feel like the luckiest mom in the world, for God somehow entrusted me with this glorious child, and we got almost six years together. I wanted more time, of course, and that’s where the sadness comes in. But she is free now."

Michelle added that her daughter had a positive impact on the people around her during her short life.

"She was an unabashed princess and she elevated everyone around her," she wrote. "We were all kings, queens, princes and princesses by association." 

Sources: CNN, Michelle Moon Blog (2) / Photo Credit: CNN

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