These are twin charities, which I have belonged to for some years. The firts campaigns and the second provides advice, help and support, including free forms for Advanced Directives. I have had one in place, since I made a new will at the time of my divorce, because I do not want to be kept alive simply because it is technically possible!
I was at the AGM On Wednesday and lobbied my MP to support the draft bill to allow assisted dying, with strong safeguards, for a very limited group. It was an inspiring meeting, addressed by Terry Pratchett and Zoe Wannamaker, both of whom I met, and Chris Larner presented an abridged version of his award winning one man play about taking his wife to Dignitas. There were a lot of familiar faces from theatre and TV there! 700 people were there, they had laid on buses from some areas. This was more people than the last AGM I attended. Now, of course I have a vested interest. I want to live well but I am not interested in treatments that will merely prolong breathing. I have already had this discussion with my oncologist and made it clear that it is quality of life that I want and that, when the time comes I want to go with dignity and not screaming to be let go. My friend Colin's wife took 6 years, paralysed and unable to communicate, dosed with antibiotics and fed through a tube. He said her eyes pleaded for release but they were practising catholics and every new infection was treated with more antibiotics, left her worse than before. Three months after she died he was killed riding his motorbike.
It is a personal thing for me since I saw my grandfather take four years of humiliating dependence after a massive stroke. I think that this is always a very personal subject and many of you will feel that it is not an appropriatebfor this site but anyone who wants to know more can read it up on the website dignityindying.org.uk where there is information on the work that the charities do.
Strange as it may seem members are very positive people and the experience in Oregon, where they have had this law for 15 years is that only 50% of those who are approved ever actually take the route in the end. Having the right and the means seems to give strength in the end. The research is on the website.