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Frome man joins the fight for the right to die

A terminally ill Frome man is joining the campaign to introduce an  assisted dying law.

Antony Mitchell, 67, was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the oesophagus last year, and has been given a 4-6 month prognosis by his doctors. After seeing his parents die painfully, Antony insists that neither he nor others should be forced to endure the same. He believes that he has the right to choose when and how he dies.

Assisted dying is illegal in the UK, so Antony is planning to travel to Dignitas in Switzerland to end his life. Dignitas offer ‘accompanied suicide’ for patients who suffer from terminal illness or ‘unendurable’ pain or disability.

He plans to travel with his daughter, Debbie, who supports his decision. Debbie said, “He’s sent off all the paperwork and the payment – about £2,000 – now we just have to wait for the doctor to give the green light.

“When they do, Dad can book a slot whenever he feels ready.”

They expect the administration process to take two to three weeks, then it will be left to Antony to decide when he wants to go.

Debbie is also now an advocate of the Dignity in Dying campaign, which is rallying to change the laws in Britain.

The organisation aims to change British law to ‘legalise assisted dying, within upfront safeguards, for terminally ill, mentally competent adults.’

Debbie hopes to see a change in the next two years, “It’s all about raising awareness now there’s so much media attention. It’s not going to be a quick process – nothing ever is in this country – but the bill had very little resistance in the House of Lords, so we’re hopeful for the future.”

Lord Falconer’s divisive Assisted Dying Bill passed its second reading in the House of Lords on 18th July, moving the government closer than ever to changing the law in favour of assisted dying.

Antony understands that any change in UK law will come too late for him, but hopes that the Dignity in Dying campaign and Lord Falconer’s Bill could ensure that others have the choice to end their suffering and have a peaceful, dignified death.

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