Two local speakers are set to share personal accounts of complex terminal illness within their families at a free event in Cambridge, in support of the Dignity in Dying campaign. Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting, which takes place on Saturday 7th October in Great Shelford.
One of the speakers is Great Gransden resident James Catmur. Ever since his multiple sclerosis diagnosis, James has had an interest in managing the end of his life. His wife Helen’s motor neurone disease diagnosis in 2015 suddenly made everything he had researched more critical, as she started to consider her own end-of-life options. James ensured that Helen’s death was as dignified as possible, without a trip to Dignitas in Switzerland, but James continues to campaign for choice at the end of life.
James, who is Director of JC&A Risk Management, said:
“Helen ended up trapped in bed. She couldn’t talk, she couldn’t communicate. Towards the end, my wife could move nothing but one hand and her eyes. She was miserable when she was suffering in the last five weeks of her life; absolutely miserable. I have multiple sclerosis so it’s something I’m interested in for myself in the future.
“I think it’s a personal choice. If you don’t agree with assisted dying, then don’t use it yourself. But when you have a disease and particularly a terminal one, as my wife did, where you know what the end is going to be and all you’re trying to do is remove some of the pain, suffering and loss of dignity, then I say, why not let us do it?”
Dignity in Dying campaigns for a change in the law to allow terminally ill, mentally competent adults the option of assisted dying in their final months. The organisation is currently supporting Noel Conway, a man with terminal motor neurone disease who is fighting in the courts for his right to an assisted death. The case was heard at the High Court in July and a judgment is expected this autumn.
The event is organised by the Cambridge Local Group of Dignity in Dying.
When: Saturday 7th October 2017, 2.30pm – 4pm
Where: David Rayner Building at Scotsdales Garden Centre, 120 Cambridge Road, Great Shelford, CB22 5JT. (NB venue has good good disabled access.)
To reserve a place, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01954 200637
Notes to Editor
For information on the national campaign, please visit www.dignityindying.org.uk or contact Ellie Ball, Media and Campaigns Officer at Dignity in Dying at email@example.com or 0207 479 7732.
Dignity in Dying campaigns for greater choice, control and access to services at the end of life. It advocates providing terminally ill adults with the option of an assisted death, within strict legal safeguards, and for universal access to high quality end-of-life care.
Noel Conway, 67, a retired college lecturer from Shropshire, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of motor neurone disease (MND), in November 2014. His condition is incurable and he is not expected to live beyond the next 12 months. Noel feels that he is prevented from exercising his right to choice and control over his death under the current law. He fears that without a change in the law he may be forced to suffer against his wishes. Noel, supported by Dignity in Dying, has instructed law firm Irwin Mitchell to bring this case to fight for his right to have the option of an assisted death when he is in his final six months of life. His case was heard before the High Court during the week beginning the 17th July, with the outcome of the hearing expected in October.