Jane Cederqvist has been referred to as Sweden’s first female star in sports.
Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet described the 77-year-old as a “pioneer” in swimming in the country.
At the age of fifteen, she won a silver medal in the 400-meter freestyle during the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, and was nicknamed “Silver Jean” in the Swedish media.
In 1960, Cederqvist became the first woman to receive the Bragdguldet from Svenska Dagbladet after the newspaper had established the award in 1925. Already the following year, she resigned at only 16 years old.
Exactly 60 years after Cederqvist’s career ended, life took a tragic turn: She was diagnosed with the terminal disease ALS.
– I won’t soon be able to do anything else, Cederqvist adds Svenska Dagbladet.
ALS is a neurological disease in which nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord gradually die away, until one becomes completely paralyzed. There is no life-saving medicine for this disease, but there is one that allows you to live longer.
People with ALS usually live for two to four years after diagnosis, but one in ten survives beyond that point.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a terrible disease that didn’t get much attention, but suddenly got more attention after Porgy Salming’s diagnosis, which is a good thing. There are many people, including health care professionals, who do not know or know much about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Cederqvist continues: I have a variant different from the one Salming had, but I lack contact with someone familiar with the area.
The aforementioned Borgy Salming passed away in November from ALS, after being diagnosed with the disease late this summer.
He was an ice hockey icon, having played over 1,000 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL.
Cederqvist says she wants to decide her own life, but at the same time she is asking for more help than is necessary in everyday life.
She says she gets good help from the home service in Sweden, but she also needs help from a personal assistant around the clock. She claims she can’t, because she’s over 65.
It is often called age discrimination.
She also points out that Sweden does not allow active euthanasia, so there is no current way out for her either.
There isn’t much I can do on my own. I hardly turn on the TV, talk on the phone, shower, get out of bed or put the covers over me when I go to sleep. I concluded that it was sad.
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