In the very first few days after I received my diagnosis, knowing that the illness was terminal, I told my husband that I wanted to have a dignified death when I could no longer bear things. I know that the disease is incurable and during its evolution it brings unbearable suffering and physical degradation which is not something that I wish to live through.
My name is J and I am 57 years of age. I am married to V and we have children of varying ages. I wish to remain anonymous as neither myself nor my husband can cope with any publicity or media attention at this difficult time. I ask that our wishes be respected.
Terminal cancer hits me – it’s a bombshell
At the end of last year I was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour. The recommended course of action was to have a guided left temporal craniotomy for the tumour to try and remove as much of it as possible. I agreed to this procedure because I wanted to live-for myself and for my family. I have been undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy but my ability to speak clearly has been affected by the operation, as well as my eyesight, mobility and the use of my limbs. I am still very mentally alert and competent -although I feel panicked and distressed by the illness and what it is doing to me.
In the very first few days after I received my diagnosis, knowing that the illness was terminal, I told my husband that I wanted to have a dignified death when I could no longer bear things. I know that the disease is incurable and during its evolution it brings unbearable suffering and physical degradation which is something I dread and do not wish to live through.
I also told my NHS doctors that I do not wish to be resuscitated and the paperwork for a DNACPR was completed and is held by the NHS on its central computer. I am very clear that I don’t want to live without my dignity intact.
Legally ending my life with help –means outside this country
My wish to end my life in a country where it is legal is my own decision and I have made this known to my husband repeatedly since my diagnosis and also to my children. They have reacted differently and have to come to terms with my wishes. Its not easy for anybody.
My condition is medically futile and it will end in unbearable physical and mental suffering for me whilst my family watch on helpless. No amount of palliative care can ease the mental torture I am now experiencing and it will only get worse. I want them to have the memory of me as I was – a happy, loving, vital and active mother, partner and friend not the way I am becoming. It’s illegal for anyone to help me to end my life here- but I will need help so I will have to ravel abroad. This is not easy when you are very ill – and I should not have to face this when I am ill and physically depleted.
The law needs to be changed in England and Wales
As the law prohibits assisted suicide- my only option is to go and die in in a country where it is legal. How many times have you heard this before? It is cruel and inhumane that the law denies people like me and those with catastrophic illnesses, the right to end our lives without pain and with dignity. Our only option is suicide by jumping infront of a train or jumping off a building or swallowing pills – all of these carry risks. Why are we forced to travel and die in a foreign country. Why cannot people respect our wishes in this country? What harm does it do them? I agree there should be safeguards for the weak and vulnerable but other countries have managed this, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, Oregan (USA) and other country’s so why can’t we devise safeguards? We can- I am in no doubt about that.
Why we need your help to change the law
We need your help to change the law. We cannot do this alone. We are not eligible for legal aid and most of us cannot afford to litigate as we have families we leave behind. Anyway, this is an issue which is of public importance and affects hundreds of people – we should fight for change together. We need to raise funds to bring a case in the courts. Parliament has not provided the solution despite being given the chance. A two and a half hour debate in the House of Commons is not enough for an issue of this importance. We need to bring a case which airs all the arguments in court- the hearing could last weeks.
What are the donations for?
We need £50,000 for our lawyers to do the initial work: get statements from others like me; get expert evidence from home and abroad; prepare a letter to the government lawyers; see their response and reply to it; do research on the law here and abroad; attend hearings to agree directions; apply for costs protection in the event we lose; prepare detailed grounds for the claims; respond to the grounds in response; attend more hearings to set a timetable to trial.
Eventually there will be trial- we don’t know how long this will take. Let’s take it one step at a time. Preparing for the trial will be a second stage once we know how things are developing we will have a better idea of what will be involved and what financial help is needed.
Help us change the law
Please help to change the law so people like me don’t have to go abroad to have a safe death. Today its me- tomorrow it could be someone you care about. You can help by :
- donating money
- spreading the word
- Tweeting when you donate
We want to thank you for your support!
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.