Caterina Simonsen was born with several rare pulmonary diseases, but has survived much longer than expected.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Simonsen wrote on her Facebook page on Dec. 21, "I am 25 thanks to genuine research that includes experiments on animals. Without research, I would have been dead at nine. You have gifted me a future."
According The Daily Beast, Simonsen, who lives in Italy, received about 30 death threats and over 500 “abusive messages” that included:
You could die tomorrow, I wouldn’t sacrifice my goldfish for you.
If you had died as a child, no one would have given a damn.
Is that the best you’ve got, Caterina? Have a good life then. I would prefer not to live if my life depended on the suffering of others or taking millions of lives, because their life is worth less than mine. Shame!
However, Simonsen did get support from other folks on Facebook and from the leader of Italy’s Democratic party, Matteo Renzi.
The young woman made a video on Sunday to address the controversy, but may have inflamed the situation.
"I want to get a degree so that I can help save animals," said Simonsen."I have received messages saying that the lives of 10 rats are more important than mine. I don't know what planet these people live on and who raised them. I am alive thanks to doctors, to medicines and to animals who had to be sacrificed."
Sadly, Simonsen is back in the hospital with a severe lung infection, notes The Sydney Morning Herald.