Annabelle Vassallo, the brave cancer victim who became a household name with her book Irrid Nghix was today handed the Pro-Life Award by Gift of Life in recognition of her 'heroic witness to life.'

"I am no hero, I get my moments of fear and frustration, but I am not scared of death as such, because of my faith," Annabelle said to applause as she received the trophy from former President Eddie Fenech Adami at the Hotel Phoenicia.

She said that her illness had taught her to appreciate life and helped her to appreciate her faith more.

"Jesus is preparing my room in His father's large house, and I think I will go there soon," she added.

Dr Fenech Adami thanked her for sharing her experiences.

"Keep it up, for yourself and for us, as we are also beneficiaries of your great life," Dr Fenech Adami said.

Ms Vassallo, 39, was diagnosed with terminal cancer three years ago. In March she launched her book, Irrid Nghix (I want to live). The profits are all going for the children's cancer organisation, Puttinu Cares.

Paul Vincenti, CEO, Gift of Life, said that once a society tampers with natural law and abandons the fundamental principle of the right to life from conception, then dignity and value of all human life become subjective and expendable.

"Even in our country, we hear the small, distant rumblings of those who consider abortion acceptable in certain cases such as when a woman has been raped or when a child has some form of deformity or a different skin colour. Human kind is capable of great tenderness and kindness as well as of terrifying horrors. Our own society is not immune to this phenomenon and this is why we continue to work to establish a constitutional guarantee to clearly state that life begins at conception.

"Our consistent stance on the dignity of all human life is not understood by some. Many understand and accept our defence of the unborn child and will stand with us against capital punishment for example, but not against euthanasia. The argument used to rationalize euthanasia is identical to that used to justify abortion. Supporters of euthanasia claim that this is but a personal choice and that nobody, least of all the state, has the right to interfere with this choice.

"This mindset is damaging and very dangerous. It assumes that in having the free choice for anything, society will by and large maturely make the right choices. It also seems to assume that any adverse consequences will only be suffered by the abusing immature individual and not by society at large .

"Today the individual is considered to be the end all of life on earth. Society as a conglomerate of individuals, who live the quality of life they actually enjoy because they belong to society, and who therefore owe that society much, is a truth that is sadly forgotten – to everyone’s detriment. Those who argue for the absolute, unlimited right of choice of the individual actually end up destroying the very individual they are out to defend, for each individual life is very much like a cell in a living organism," he said.

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