Europe’s Youngest ALS Patient Faces Wave of Online Hate After Seeking Treatment in Israel
Europe’s youngest ALS patient has become the object of vicious online abuse after he attempted to raise money for a new treatment in Israel.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a degenerative nerve disease that destroys motor neurons, slowly paralyzing and ultimately killing those afflicted with it. Its most famous sufferer was the physicist Stephen Hawking.
According to Hebrew news site Mako, the young patient, Paolo Palumbo, who lives in Italy, was accepted into a treatment program at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem. It is believed that due to Palombo’s young age, the treatment could not only arrest the progression of the disease but also lead to remission.
The treatment, however, costs 900,000 euros. Palumbo, who cannot eat or breathe on his own, turned to online crowd-funding in order to pay for it, but was met with a wave of hatred.
“Your efforts are pointless,” said one, “you will die before you reach Israel.”
Another read, “You are a bastard and someone who gives you money is a bastard.”
Palumbo’s brother told the media, “There are conversations in which groups of people enjoy insulting Paolo.”
In a final post to his Facebook group, Palumbo said he wanted to be cut off, not from his life support machines, but from the violent hatred he was facing.
There were some supporters, however, with one saying, “My mother died of ALS in 2004 and I contributed.”
Another said, “You will make it to Israel and get through this treatment, because of your age, your family, and all those who did not.”