Alumni

Right to Try law means a chance at life for young graduate with cancer

By Lillian Abbatacola, October 31, 2019

Liberty University alumna Natalie Harp has been an outspoken supporter of the Right to Try Act, signed into law by President Donald Trump in May 2018.

A Stage 2 bone cancer fighter from California, Harp was accidentally infused with sterile water in 2015 and became so ill that she was housebound. She suffered through two failed chemotherapies and was denied clinical trials as one of the youngest patients with this rare form of bone cancer. Her healthcare providers offered medical marijuana, opioids, Death With Dignity, and even instruction in the voluntary stopping of eating and drinking (VSED).

Then she learned about Right to Try, which gives patients with terminal illnesses the chance to try experimental drugs not yet fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Harp said that while her doctors could not offer her any options, the new legislation could.

“We now have a president who is broadening the pro-life movement to encompass life at conception to natural death,” Harp said. “Right to Try empowers the terminally ill to fight with dignity for life-saving experimental treatments and potential cures rather than be forced into pain clinics and ‘death with dignity.’”

She said that since using the experimental drug, her numbers and pain level are stabilizing.

Harp first caught the news media’s attention when she posted an opinion piece on LinkedIn, where she shared her story of getting cancer and how the experience with Right to Try has changed her mind on being involved in national politics.

“When a nation invests not in resources to end life but to save it, patients like me will know pain is worth the fight — to rally to cure childhood cancer, end the opioid epidemic, and make every option available to the terminally ill,” she wrote.

She appeared on Fox & Friends two days later to share her journey as a beneficiary of Right to Try. A week later, she was invited to join President Trump on the stage at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority annual conference in Washington, D.C.

“She lit up the television screen,” Trump said when he introduced her at the event.

Harp thanked the president personally for giving her lifesaving hope in her battle with cancer and related her own story to the biblical story of the
Good Samaritan.

“What you don’t know is that I was that forgotten person on the side of the road, the victim of medical error — the No. 3 cause of death under the previous administration — and left to die of cancer.”

Harp said that the medical establishment was the first to pass by her.

“They wrote me prescriptions for opioids, and they walked on. Next, the political establishment saw me there, and they stopped just long enough to come over and tell me how to die, how to speed up my death so I could somehow die with dignity. But then an outsider, my Good Samaritan, President Donald J. Trump, he saw me there and he didn’t walk by; he stopped.”

Trump said it was because of Right to Try that many people “have a medicine that wouldn’t have been approved
for years.”

Harp earned her M.B.A. from Liberty in 2015 and speaks fondly of that experience, noting that her classes challenged her worldview and helped her develop as a Christ-centered woman in the workplace.

“What I especially appreciate about Liberty’s vision is that every field of knowledge is treated as a mission field — whether in education, business, or politics. Doing God’s work is not limited to ministry in churches or foreign countries but deep in the heart of our own neighborhoods — and yes, even the D.C. swamp,” she said.

Harp, who recently joined the Advisory Board for Donald J. Trump for President, said she appreciates that Liberty encourages students to be politically active because so many Christians end up abstaining from the world as they try to set themselves apart from it.

“Jerry Falwell’s leadership and unwavering support of our president is inspiring to witness as he exemplifies to people of faith that belief in the afterlife propels action during this life,” Harp said.

>>>Matters of Life, Not Death: Read another story about alumni twin brothers who are helping to expand the pro-life movement in North Carolina and New York.

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