Vervoort was suffering from progressive myelopathy, an illness that originates in the spinal cord and leads to muscular weakness. Her prognosis was for further paralysis and increasing pain. As early as the 2016 Paralympics Vervoort indicated her intention to carry out euthanasia. “I don’t want to suffocate” she told VRT.
In recent years she had gone downhill. Every fortnight she had a hospital appointment for pain treatment. She said the painkillers she had to take were enough to put an army out of action: “It only gives me ten good days a month.”