WINDSOR, Ontario, September 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After the passing of 18-month-old Joseph Maraachli yesterday, his family celebrated his funeral Wednesday morning in Windsor.
The young boy, who garnered an international outpouring of support after his London, Ontario hospital tried to remove his ventilator against his parents’ wishes in February, passed away in the care of his family at 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday. They held a funeral service for him this morning at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens.
“Today, at about 11:00 a.m. our dear baby Joseph was laid to rest at a small private funeral service in Windsor, Canada,” wrote Br. Paul O’Donnell, a close family friend, on the family’s official Facebook page. “Perhaps in the near future another gathering will be planned to celebrate Joseph’s life. Please pray for the Maraachli family at this time of great loss. Thank you to all who have loved and supported Joseph and his family. May God bless you.”
Baby Joseph, as he became known, was able to spend his last five months at home after a concerted campaign by anti-euthanasia and pro-life groups that culminated in Priests for Life arranging for his transfer from the London Health Sciences Centre to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri where he received high quality medical care also paid for by Priests for Life.
Since the news broke Wednesday morning of Joseph’s death, condolences have been pouring in from the family’s supporters.
“It was a privilege and an inspiration for me to meet the Maraachli family and see their dedication to care for and love their precious boy, regardless of his disability,” said Bobby Schindler, the brother of Terri Schiavo and Co-Executive Director of Terri’s Life & Hope Network. “All the parents wanted was to bring their baby home. By their example, they showed the world what it means to love unconditionally. May we all learn from their example.”
Schindler had traveled to London, Ontario, on two occasions in February to support the Maraachli family.
“Your love and dedication toward Baby Joseph was an inspiration to the world and showed us all what family is all about,” wrote Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, to Joseph’s father Moe on Facebook. “Joseph is now in the loving arms of his Savior with his sister. No pain. No suffering. Rejoicing in love.”
The London hospital had refused to perform a tracheostomy, generally considered a simple and common procedure in such cases, and obtained a court order from the Ontario Superior Court allowing them to withdraw Joseph’s ventilator.
The order was halted, however, when Canada’s Euthanasia Prevention Coalition intervened with expert legal help. Fr. Frank Pavone of the U.S.-based Priests for Life later arranged for Joseph to be transported to Cardinal Glennon hospital and receive substantial additional medical care.
Doctors at Cardinal Glennon performed the tracheostomy and he was able to go home and breathe on his own for his remaining months.
Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition told LifeSiteNews that Joseph “had an incredible affect on our country.”
“He died with his family exactly as they wanted. He went home, lived, breathed on his own, and was cared for by his family. All the things they wanted to do,” he explained.
“It’s a challenge to other families that they can do the same,” he added. “We should encourage them to do the same. They’re going to be feeling the same pressure by the system.”