France has just awarded the Légion d'honneur to a woman who has been a locked-in quadriplegic for 30 years. Maryannick Pavageau received the distinction for her battle against euthanasia. A resident of Sainte Nazaire, on the Atlantic coast, she gave an interview about her life to the local newspaper after this week’s award:
"I was 30 years old when I was struck down by this syndrome after a stroke. The disease was little known at the time, but Jean-Dominique Bauby has described it in his book The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. It is a paralysis of the limbs, sometimes more, but you retain consciousness. I was one of the first to survive. After three months in a coma, I woke up to the amazement of the doctors! I started speech therapy and I spent 32 months in the hospital."