If your child was diagnosed with a terminal illness, what would you do? While you could visit every specialist around the world, some diseases are too complex for the current treatments we have available. After exhausting all efforts, many parents would finally accept the science, try to make the most of their remaining time together, and grieve when the end came. But the parents of Matheryn Naovaratpong took things a step further. They decided to cryopreserve their daughter in the hopes that one day she may have a second chance at life.
When Sahatorn Naovaratpong was a child, his family woke to find that the oxygen pump in their aquarium wasn’t working. In an effort to save the goldfish, they removed them from the tank and put them in an ice bath. This lowered their temperature and essentially delayed their death. Once the oxygen pump was repaired, they returned the fish to the tank and found that the ice bath worked—over 50% of the goldfish were alive and well . This was Sahatorn Naovaratpong’s first experience with the rudimentary process of cryopreservation.
Who is Matheryn Naovaratpong?
Sahatorn went on to become a scientist and married his wife, Nareerat. On February 29, 2012, they gave birth to their fourth child, a beautiful baby girl named Matheryn Naovaratpong, Einz for short. In both Japanese and Chinese, “Einz” means “love” and that’s exactly what she brought into the lives of her family members.
In 2014, just after her second birthday, Doctors found an 11-centimeter tumor covering the left side of Einz’ brain. She was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer called ependymoblastoma. This is an aggressive form of pediatric cancer that carries a five-year survival rate ranging from 0% to 30% . Her parents and doctors did everything they could to find an effective treatment, but aggressive therapies weren’t working.
Although there was a high risk of coma, surgery eventually became the only option. While half of the tumor was removed during the initial surgery, it was only the beginning. Despite a total of 10 surgeries, 12 rounds of chemotherapy, and 20 rounds of radiation, the tumor eventually spread across the entirety of her brain . This resulted in the paralyzation of the right side of her body. Einz was put on life support and needed a ventilator to breathe.
The Decision to Choose Cryopreservation
Sahatorn performed countless hours of independent research on the latest technology and treatment available to save his daughter. Unfortunately, this was to no avail. That’s why he started thinking about cryonics. Cryopreservation is a process that preserves cells, tissues, and other biological material by lowering core temperatures to sub-freezing levels. Sahatorn saw this as the best way to give Einz hope for a second chance at life.
However, when he brought it up to his family, everyone had different attitudes about this option, and most disagreed. They didn’t see the point in cryopreservation, but Sahatorn explained to them that death was merely a process and while this wasn’t a guarantee of anything, it was a chance for life in the future. The family eventually accepted this idea.
Sahatorn contacted Alcor, an Arizona-based life extension facility offering cryopreservation. While the hope was to relocate Einz to a U.S. facility, her need for life support made it impossible. Instead, the family worked closely with Alcor to overcome the barriers of distance and do what they could to ensure high-quality cryopreservation.
Einz was removed from life support while surrounded by her family. She was pronounced legally dead on January 8, 2015, shortly before her third birthday. Dr. Kanshepolsky performed the standby and field neuro-cryoprotection in Thailand following legal death and Alcor’s field cryoprotection system proved effective. Once Einz was transported back to Alcor, the neuro-separation was performed and she became Alcor’s 134th patient. She remains to be the youngest cryopreserved patient to date.
As scientists, both of her parents understand that just because they don’t know something, doesn’t mean it’s not true or impossible. They understand that there is no guarantee that cryopreservation will give Einz another life, but it’s an option that gives her the possibility in the future. Like many others, they view cryonics as a life-saving technology, but also an experiment and there’s no promise that revival will ever occur. Instead, it’s done as an effort to save lives in the future. Despite the lack of guarantee for future life, her father remains positive. In a recent interview for Vice, he said “Her body has been cryopreserved in Arizona awaiting coming technology” .
Despite the lack of available technology, cryopreservation exists as a way to give people with untreatable illnesses or diseases a chance in the future. While we don’t know when, if ever, this will occur, there’s no fundamental biological reason why revival after cryopreservation isn’t possible. So, why not take the chance?
To learn more about this life-saving technology, schedule a free consultation with one of our medical experts today.
 SSA - POMS: DI 23022.150 - Ependymoblastoma (Child Brain Cancer) - 08/31/2020. (2020, August 31). Social Security Administration. Retrieved July 20, 2022, from https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0423022150
 Wedel, Pailin (Producer, Wedel, Pailin (Director). 2018. Hope Frozen: A Quest to Live Twice [Video file]. Retrieved July 20, 2022, from https://www.netflix.com
 Merchant, B. (2015, April 16). The Girl Who Would Live Forever. Vice. Retrieved July 20, 2022, from https://www.vice.com/en/article/kbzype/the-girl-who-would-live-forever
Body image sourced from: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-34524771
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