The story of Charlie Gard, the 11-month-old British baby suffering from a rare genetic condition who was essentially given a death sentence by the European Court of Human Rights, has caught the attention of organizations, hospitals, ordinary people, and even some of the most well-known world leaders.
Despite the fact that Charlie’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, have raised more than enough money to transport their son to the US for an experimental treatment, the court has forbidden Charlie’s parents from taking him out of Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and ruled that the hospital can withdraw his life support. This has drawn outrage from Charlie’s sympathizers around the world, who have rushed to offer their support.
Mariella Enoc, the president of the Vatican’s Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital released a statement asking Charlie’s hospital “to verify whether the health conditions exist to possibly transfer Charlie to our hospital.” However, the London hospital replied that due to legal issues, they would refuse to do that.
According to Greg Burke, the director of the Holy See Press Office, Pope Francis also expressed his sympathy and support for Charlie’s parents:
The Holy Father is following with affection and emotion the situation of little Charlie Gard and expresses his closeness to his parents. He is praying for them, in the hope that their desire to accompany and care for their own child until the end will be respected.
President Trump offered his country’s support on Monday:
If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2017
A Twitter account maintained for Charlie responded to the President’s tweet, asking British Prime Minister Theresa May to side with Charlie also:
— Charlie’s fight (@Fight4Charlie) July 3, 2017
March for Life Action has started a petition urging Great Ormond Street Hospital to let Charlie live. The text implores the hospital to “reconsider [its] decision and give Charlie a chance at life.” Jeanne Mancini, the president of March for Life, released a statement on the issue as well:
Every life is a gift and worth fighting for so we are heartened by President Trump’s involvement in the tragic situation surrounding Charlie Gard. Our hearts go out to the Gard family and we hope that their wishes with respect to Charlie’s treatment will in the end be respected.
In addition, J.J. Hanson, the president of the Patients Rights Action Fund, a organization opposed to efforts to legalize assisted suicide, also offered support for Charlie’s family:
The Charlie Gard case is tragic, which warrants the President’s and other heads of states’ attention, and our hearts go out to his family. Although there is a chasm between killing, as with assisted suicide and euthanasia, and letting die, it is deeply troubling anytime physicians and governments, not patients and their families, are making determinations about whether a person’s life is worth living.
Chiara Paolini, the mother of an Italian boy with a condition similar to Charlie’s, has reached out to encourage the Gard family. She was told by doctors that her little boy, Emanuele Campostrini, would probably die before his first birthday. Today, he is nine years old and living a happy life. Paolini told Charlie’s parents, “Don’t give up, miracles happen.”
Despite the court’s assumption that the experimental treatment would likely “offer no benefit” for Charlie, his supporters agree with his parents that, “He literally has nothing to lose but potentially a healthier, happier life to gain.” This afternoon, they participated in a #IStandWithCharlieGard tweetfest showing their support.
The public response to Charlie’s situation is deafening, but Europe’s highest court has already ruled that Charlie’s life is not worth attempting to save. Charlie’s supporters have not yet given up hope, however. This week at the G20 summit, President Trump is reportedly going to bring up the topic of Charlie during a meeting with Theresa May. Whether or not she will listen and do anything about it is still unknown.