HAMILTON — The parents of a young aboriginal girl who died after refusing to continue chemotherapy say their daughter made the difficult decision because she felt the treatment would kill her before cancer would.

Sonya Sault says chemo took such a horrendous toll on her 11-year-old daughter, Makayla, that she nearly died of septic shock three weeks after beginning the treatment.

Makayla, who suffered from a rare form of leukemia, died last month after suffering a stroke, and her parents blamed her death on “the harsh side effects” 11 weeks of chemotherapy inflicted on her body.

Sonya Sault says doctors at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton had given her daughter at most a 72 per cent chance of survival if she received chemotherapy treatment for several years.

Sault says her daughter continued to receive other forms of treatment from an oncologist at McMaster hospital as well as her own physician near home, until she died at home “in her parents arms.”

Sault made the comments today at an aboriginal health conference organized by McMaster University.