Ill man demands voices of dying people are heard by Commons

In a card sent to committee chairman Steve Brine MP, he wrote: “I have terminal blood cancer and this is likely to be my last Christmas, my second without my daughter Katie who died in agony last summer. “It is my wish that the voices of dying people like me are at the heart of the assisted dying inquiry.

“The ban on assisted dying is harming people like me. Let our stories be heard.”

David, who celebrated his 75th birthday last Saturday, helped launch the Daily Express’s Give Us Our Last Rights crusade in February.

He supports calls for a law change to give people with fewer than six months to live the option of a medically assisted death.

David suffers from terminal blood cancer and the secondary condition amyloidosis, which means abnormal proteins are damaging his organs.

In July last year, his daughter Katie died of another cancer, sarcoma, after a slow decline over several months.

He fears he faces the same fate and that his wife and son will be forced to watch another loved one suffer.

David said the decline in his health since he helped launch the Express campaign had “enhanced” his views on assisted dying.

He has stopped chemotherapy and other treatments and now only receives painkillers, which he is reluctant to take until his disease becomes intolerable.

David explained: “I had lots of discussions regarding the effectiveness of it all and what I was having to go through to travel to hospital to have the infusions.

“The state I was in when I got home just negated any benefit I was getting. The chemo wasn’t meant to have a curing effect, it was meant to stabilise, and it wasn’t.”

Sleeping has become difficult and David’s body now breaks out in sores that do not heal.

Although he can still walk, his legs are extremely swollen due to fluid building up.

During his last assessment in September, he was advised by a doctor that he was likely to end up being admitted to hospital in renal failure.

David said: “I don’t want to die but on the other hand I would much rather live for six months than exist for 12. In an ideal world, I would love to be able to sit in a place of my choosing in this house or in my
garden shed, with my family around me listening to beautiful music and being able to bid my farewells.

“That’s not going to be the case. I’m going to have a painful exit.”

Last month the Health Committee announced an inquiry into assisted dying in a major victory for our crusade.

But campaigners were concerned that it did not mention plans to hear from terminally ill people or those whose loved ones have taken their own lives due to the lack of assisted dying provisions.

David has felt compelled to share his and Katie’s stories in the hope that policymakers will wake up to the need for change.

He added: “It’s not for my benefit because it’s not going to happen in time. But it’s up to people like me to ensure that my experience opens the door for others.”

Kit Malthouse, the co-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Choice at the End of Life, said: “It’s impossible to imagine what it must be like to know you face an agonising death

“It is imperative the Health Committee hears from people who are living through this horror or who have been there before. We know that by a huge margin the British people want to see a change in the law.

“I hope that through this important inquiry, the Health Committee can help Parliament realise why they feel so strongly”.

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