Posted: 09.07.19 at 22:37 by The Editor
A husband and father-of-two from Rutland, diagnosed with motor neurone disease at just 43-years-old, is campaigning to change the law on assisted dying.
Phil Newby, who can no longer walk, use his hands or lower arms, has launched an online CrowdJustice fundraising page to take his legal case to court.
Supporters have pledged £25,451 of the £30,000 target.
Mr Newby, who moved to Rutland from Stamford in 2007, says: "We all hope for a happy, fulfilling life, that is not cut short and ends peacefully and relatively painlessly, but I have motor neurone disease (MND).
"I’m unable to walk, use my hands or lower arms, but I can still talk and my mental capacity is unchanged.
"My family and I know that MND will kill me and will rob me of nearly everything.
"There is a very good chance I will die suffering, with little dignity, having lost all control of my body but not my mind.
"I’m a lover of life and will continue to strive to stay well, despite the relentless decline in my health and quality of life.
"I remain determined to see my children grow up and will contribute to our family every day that I can.
"The future however, is a very scary prospect.
"I’m staring down the barrel of an undignified, and drawn-out death because of an out of date, cruel law."
Assisted dying in England and Wales is outlawed under the Suicide Act 1961.
Now 48, Mr Newby says that if his health deteriorates the current choices are 'truly desperate'.
"I could leave everything I love behind to seek a compassionate death in a foreign country - paying £12,000 to join the more than 480 other people from the UK who have travelled to Switzerland for help to die.
"I could take the law into my hands and try to take my own life - a traumatic option risking a botched job and potentially incriminating my loved ones if they were deemed to have provided ‘assistance’.
"Or I could reach a stage where life is so awful that I refuse food to starve to death over many days or weeks.
"These aren’t real choices.
"They mean I’d need to take action to shorten my life before I’m ready to die, but while still physically able.
"I’d miss out on precious time with my wife and children.
"Or I’d need to endure protracted suffering, with my loved ones unable to ease my pain - and living with that memory forever.
"This isn’t just about me; due to the lack of choice under the current law every year in England 300 British people with terminal illnesses prematurely end their own life.
"So I’m asking for help to establish a humane choice for the end of life."
Mr Newby is fundraising to take his case to court with the intention that, over several days, experts from across the globe would give their opinion in support of assisted dying laws and the government potentially having experts arguing against them.
A High Court judge can then make a decision on whether or not the laws should be changed based on the evidence.
"With all views represented and tested, this can demonstrate that it is right to change the law, so that the people who are approaching the end of life have choice and control over how and when they die.
"Securing the right to be helped to die with medical supervision as I near the end of life will provide great comfort.
"Rather than shortening my life, I believe that it will help me live the time that remains to the full," he adds.
To support Mr Newby's campaign and contribute to the fundraising appeal click on the red button below.