You might remember Colton Harris-Moore, aka the “Barefoot Bandit” from his 2008 crime spree that led authorities on a merry chase from the Puget Sound to the Caribbean for over two years. He is almost finished serving his 6 1/2 year sentence. He’s in the news again because of his new GoFundMe campaign, raising money to help his mother.
Pamela Kohler, Harris-Moores’ mother, is dying of end-stage lung cancer. Her prognosis is so grim that doctors are referring her to palliative care. But Harris-Moore believes that he can save his mother by freezing her. In a telephone interview on Sunday, he told The Everett Herald that there is “always another option.”
The Facebook group, Friends of Colton Harris Moore, posted this on April 11th, a message from Harris-Moore:
The 25-year-old hopes to raise enough money to cryonically freeze his mother until experimental procedures can save her in the future. He is trying to raise the $300,000 to do this with Alcor, a company that “cryopreserves” people until future technology can cure their ills. The post links to the GoFundMe page, where Harris-Moore explains in a letter what cryopreservation is, how it works and why his mom is a candidate for it.
While cryonics is viable and has come out from behind the science fiction label as an option for the terminally ill, it is currently illegal to freeze a live person. But companies who perform the procedure say that “legally dead” isn’t the same thing as “totally dead.” The brain still functions even after the heart stops, these companies state, and it (and other organs) can be preserved and, theoretically, revived later. Critics say that this is just another scam and, since nobody placed in cryonic suspension has yet been successfully revived, they could be right.
Even with the uncertainty of cryonics, Harris-Moore believes it holds a better chance for his mother than doing nothing. A view that is hard to refute as doing nothing means real, final death. It is his prerogative to try, of course. But since the procedure costs over a quarter-of-a-million dollars and the money from the rights to his story — sold to a Hollywood studio for $1 million — all went to restitution, there is no other way to fund it.
So far, the GoFundMe page has raised a little over $500 and, as end-stage lung cancer is predatorily swift, things don’t look so good. A cynic might say that this is some sort of karma for Harris-Moores’ crime spree. If it is, it’s chosen the wrong target.