Ontario government failing dying woman

The Mikelsons(from left): Karl Mikelsons (brother), Martin Mikelsons (brother), Lizzie Mikelsons,...

The Mikelsons(from left): Karl Mikelsons (brother), Martin Mikelsons (brother), Lizzie Mikelsons, Michael Harris, Laura Nicholson (sister).

Christina Blizzard, Queen's Park Columnist

, Last Updated: 7:26 AM ET

TORONTO -- As someone who prefers small government to large, I don't ask for much from my elected officials.

Fill the potholes. Don't move gas plants. Don't delete your e-mails when you leave office.

And when a young person is stricken with a rare, terrible disease, look after her.

People such as Elizabeth Mikelsons, 24.

Known to her family as Lizzie, my colleague, QMI Agency columnist, Sun News Network and Newstalk1010 commentator Jerry Agar first told her tragic story.

At age 16, as she was going into Grade 12, Lizzie started to display odd symptoms.

Suddenly, she couldn't walk down the hill to the lake and had to crouch and slide down.

The nurse gave her the diagnosis at the Hospital for Sick Children in tears.

She has spinocerebellar ataxia, Type 17, a painful and rare neurodegenerative disease. And it's terminal.

"Parts of your brain begin to shrink," Lizzie's sister, Laura Nicholson, 25, told me in a phone interview Wednesday.

Her cerebellum is affected. That limits her movement and her senses.

"As her brain has deteriorated, so has her ability to function," Laura said.

The Toronto family tried to keep Lizzie at home as long as possible.

Over the past six months, it's become more difficult.

"It's become desperate," Laura said. Lizzie needs care 24-7, which the family can't provide.

They want to ensure Lizzie is well cared for in an appropriate facility.

Some long-term care homes couldn't take her because she's too young. She needs complex medical care that a long-term facility can't offer.


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