'˜Why I choose to go to Switzerland to die'
Three years ago, at the age of 61, I was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I soon made the decision to contact an assisted dying organisation, Lifecircle in Switzerland.
I will die there at a time of my choice when my Alzheimer’s develops and impacts further on the quality of my life.
I’m campaigning to get the law changed in the UK to permit people like myself to have an assisted death rather than suffer the torment of illnesses and conditions that have no cure.
I used to be an academic and have studied and worked at many universities [including Lancaster].
The Fellowship I was awarded at Oxford is now meaningless and useless.
I loved reading, writing, and taking part in Action Research. I can no longer do any of this.
I enjoyed long distance walks, cycling, travelling, and driving motorbikes and cars. I can not and never will do any of these things again.
I become frightened when I go out. I get confused by the noise of people talking. I feel sick with fear in crowded places.
But this is nothing compared to the horrors and outright torture my dementia will bring.
I know this intimately because I helped support my father for five years when he suffered with vascular dementia.
He was a true sportsman and a keen marathon runner. He was kind and caring, but strong, supportive and never wavered.
The only time I saw my father cry was when his mum died.
He did not even cry when he fell through three floors from a loft, breaking his back, legs, and ribs.
When the dementia took hold, he became scared, paranoid. violent and did not recognise his own family. He was doubly incontinent and cried when he made a mess or when I had to change and shower him.
Sometimes he would have moments of lucidity and ask us to make it stop and help him to die. It was heart-breaking.
If I could have been sure of getting the right drugs and ending his life peacefully I would have done so and gladly gone to prison.
Being in prison could not possibly hurt as much as the pain I still feel 15 years later for letting him down and not being able to help him.
My life is heading along the same path as my father and I do not want my friends and family to experience my demise and feel as though they have stood helplessly by.
Fourteen months ago my mother was enjoying life, but started having small fits everyday.
For the last year she’s been bed bound and doubly incontinent.
She finds it difficult to talk and eat, and often asks me to help her die so she can meet her God.
She shouldn’t have to be forced to live like this.
It’s estimated that eight people travel to Switzerland to die every six weeks from England.
Those are the lucky ones who can afford the fees, flights, and hotels, which at the low end cost around £8,000.
The majority of people in this country can’t afford this and have no choice but to suffer.
I don’t think this is fair. Do you?
Please join me in getting the law changed in England and internationally.
lAlex will be speaking on Monday October 22 at a meeting at the Friends Meeting House, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster LA1 1TX, from 7.30pm.
Also speaking will be Councillor Lizzi Collinge, prospective parliamentary Labour candidate forMorecambe & Lunesdale.
The meeting is organised by supporters of The Right To Die With Dignity
For further information or a What We Stand For Pamphlet, email [email protected]
You can also join the Facebook page, The Right To Die With Dignity UK .