At age 30, Jordi Sabaté Pons experienced the first symptoms of ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. In the seven years since then, Jordi, who lives in Spain, has become bedridden, unable to speak or eat. Even breathing is a struggle. But Jordi loves his life.
Through a specialized computer that detects eye movement and allows Jordi to type messages, he regularly communicates with people around the world and has more than 34,000 Twitter followers. In a video shared on Twitter, Jordi demonstrated how he uses eye movement to communicate.
Despite being limited in his physical abilities, Jordi is consistently upbeat and encouraging. An article about him states, “Jordi has a great sense of humor. He’s an avid fan of a Barcelona soccer team, the ‘RCD Espanyol,’ and he loves Life. His messages are positive and full of faith and hope.” When he was diagnosed with ALS, he was told he would likely have only three years to live. Now seven years later, Jordi says he feels lucky and loves Life.
As Spain considers legislation to allow assisted suicide, Jordi spoke out against the killing and encouraged his followers to join him in a Pro-Life movement. In December, Spain’s parliament passed a measure that would legalize assisted suicide for some patients. The Senate is expected to approve the deadly bill.
In response to the news, Jordi called on people to use the hashtag #mueveundedoporlavida (move a finger for life) to protest the legislation. Jordi explained that he has connected with many people over the internet who also have ALS and other serious medical challenges. He said in a tweet:
I am constantly being told by friends who have the same deadly disease as I do, ALS, that they are forced to die, because they do not have the human and financial resources for their essential care. My helplessness, my anger and my indignation have caused me to start the campaign #moveafingerforlife
Texas Right to Life has previously reported on patients like those with whom Jordi has spoken who are unable to afford life-sustaining or life-saving treatment. In places where assisted suicide is legal, they are already turning to death because they feel they have no other choice. Although anti-Life activists present assisted suicide as a supposed expansion of choice, the results are the opposite for many people who feel forced to choose death.
In response to his call, many people posted videos moving a finger and spread the message of Life and hope. Because Jordi has so openly and candidly shared his joys and struggles, he brings a face to the person who supposedly has no reason to live. Many people incorrectly assume that without walking, talking, and eating, Life would not be worth living. The reality is that Life is so much more.
Jordi, who married in 2019, still sees reason to hope and love Life. He said he seeks constantly to encourage others, because he knows what despair feels like. He sees his presence on social media as a way of helping others when so many people use social media to spread hatred and falsehood. He said that he and the other activists like him “chose to bring love, humor and joy…to try to create a better society.”
He continued, “I’m one of those people who prefer to make love and not war; I prefer to do good rather than evil. I think we need more love, joy and humor in this world to silence so much hate and violence.”
For Jordi, his faith plays a central role in his joy and resilience. He said, “I have faith in Christ and I feel him by my side in the good moments of life, and also in the hard ones… He created life and he will never abandon us … God is my friend through thick and thin.”
Disability advocates have been warning for years that legalizing assisted suicide endangers the most vulnerable. Jordi’s warning should be taken seriously as countless human lives are on the line.