Baby Pia: Almost 1m Belgians pay for life-saving drug


More than 950,000 Belgians have responded to a couple seeking €1.9m ($2m; £1.7m) to cover the cost of their baby’s life-saving treatment. Nine-month-old Pia, who has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and lives in Antwerp, requires the drug Zolgensma, which has not been approved for use in Europe but is available in the US.

Her parents have now raised enough for a single course of treatment. “I can fly instead of crawl,” a message on the TeamPia fundraising page said. Belgium has a population of 11.4 million and Pia’s mother, Ellen De Meyer, said almost one in 10 Belgians had contributed. The money was raised through a text messaging donation service – €2 for each text received – launched just days ago and through contributions to a campaign posted to the crowdfunding site GoFundMe.”It is overwhelming that a country can come together for something like this,” Ms De Meyer told Belgium’s VRT News, adding: “The fact that this happens in two days is insane.”(BBC)…[+]