Grassroots campaign wants MPs to support dignity in death
A local campaign calling for MPs to support voluntary assisted dying laws in NSW will be launched in Lismore on Monday, February 8.
For Cathy Barry, one of the organisers of Northern Rivers Dying with Dignity, the issue is close to home.
Ms Barry's brother, Tom, passed away last year from an untreatable, terminal, metastatic facial carcinoma.
Excellent care from his treating doctors couldn't change the fact his death was prolonged and traumatic.
"Tom asked that he be assisted to end his suffering but this could not happen," Ms Barry said.
"Tom asked that he be given a pain free, peaceful and dignified, end of life experience but this did not happen.
"I want to ensure that the unnecessary and horrific experience which both my brother Tom and we, his family, had to endure at the end of his life does not go unnoticed and fade in vain.
"I want a legacy for all those who seek dignified last days and death.
"Tom died after five days of prolonged and relentless extreme pain and emotional distress.
"His end of life experience in his own dying word, which he struggled to express, was inhumane."
Dying with Dignity president Penny Hackett said there was strong community support for NSW parliament to introduce laws allowing peaceful, dignified death.
"Laws are in place in Victoria, about to come into effect in Western Australia, and are on their way in Tasmania, Queensland and South Australia," she said.
"The question is - why not NSW?
"We're asking members of NSW parliament to start working together on this Bill so that it can pass.
"This is not about choosing life or death, it's about choosing between a good death or a bad one."
Northern Rivers Dying with Dignity will hold a stall at Lismore Shopping Square between 10am and 3pm on Monday, February 8 and at Ballina Fair on Thursday, February 18.
The Dying with Dignity petition, launched in December, has more than 22,000 signatures.