US & Canada

Terminal cancer patient's voting plea from hospital bed

Maddison holds up #Whatsyourexcuse sign from hospital bed Image copyright Maddison Yetman

An 18-year-old given just days to live has shared her dying wish from her hospital bed in Winnipeg, Canada.

Maddison Yetman wants people to vote in the upcoming Canadian elections.

The student was diagnosed with sudden terminal cancer but decided her illness would not prevent her casting her ballot, when election officials visited the hospital to allow patients unable to reach polling stations to vote.

She has now taken to social media to urge others to do the same.

In a video posted on Twitter, Maddison holds up cards describing how "despite being bedridden and having very limited time, I still managed to submit my first ever federal vote".

She then goes on to say: "If I can find the time to vote, you can find the time to vote," before showing a sign that reads: "#WhatsYourExcuse".

Her uncle Brett Williamson, the station manager of Global News Winnipeg, said she had decided she was going to vote just two hours after being told she had only days left to live.

"Maddison's always been very politically active, right from junior high on, she had really strong views… she believes in the process as well, and was looking forward to voting. She was lecturing us all on the pros and cons of the different parties in her eyes."

The video, which has been viewed more than 500,000 times since it was posted on Twitter on Tuesday, has generated hundreds of comments, including a response from current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. "Thank you for inspiring Canadians, and reminding us how precious a vote is," he posted.

Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the New Democratic Party, one of Mr Trudeau's political challengers also responded, by saying he was "speechless".

Image copyright The Canadian Press
Image caption NDP leader Jagmeet Singh responded to Maddison's video

"This is truly powerful, Maddison - thank you for your courage in the face of adversity," he posted.

Canadians will go to the polls on 21 October, to decide whether to give Mr Trudeau's party a second term in office.

Image copyright BBC News
Image caption Federal party leaders vying for votes in Canada's 2019 general election

This is the first federal campaign for Mr Singh, 40, who took over as leader of the left-leaning NDP two years ago.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer currently has the best chance of unseating the prime minister, polling suggests - but the 40-year-old is still a relative unknown.

In Quebec, the separatist Bloc Quebecois also has a new leader, Yves-Francois Blanchet, 54.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May, 65, is running in her fourth general election.

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