A 20-year-old man has had to make the toughest decision anyone could by choosing to end his own life by assisted suicide.
Eric Coulam from Canada recently hosted a goodbye barbecue with his loved ones, and has opted for MAID (medical assistance in dying) due to ongoing chronic pain resulting from a mystery illness that is yet to be diagnosed.
The Fort St John resident said he's been in agony for years due to the condition located in his gastrointestinal system, which left him with liver and kidney disease.
In 2016, Canada made assisted suicide legal in extreme cases to end the suffering of terminally ill adults. In 2021, the law was further amended to include certain patients whose natural death is not reasonably foreseeable.
To be eligible, a person must be over the age of 18 and have a 'serious and incurable illness, disease or disability'.
For Eric, the pain has been going on for a decade and he is no longer willing to live with it.
Although he hasn't set an exact date for the procedure, a 'goodbye BBQ' was held which saw around 600 family members and friends attend.
Speaking last month, he said, as reported by the Mirror: "I sometimes lay there at night and get sad sometimes, but for the most part, I’m waiting for the day because I’m in lots of pain all the time.
“I’m on many meds just to be comfortable for a few hours.”
Eric continued: "I can go when I'm ready, it's not when I'm sick, it's not when they pull my meds or anything, it's when I'm ready.
"I thought about it for a while, I kind of ghosted my family because I wasn't in a good place. I knew it was what I wanted to do. It was hard to tell everyone else."
His friend shared in a recent post on the Facebook page Eric's Army - dedicated to all of his supporters - that his pal has 'literally fought tooth & nail & he has been in Hospital all over the place'.
The post added: "When I found this out while I was in PG Hospital, I broke down hard because this kid is the nicest guy ever & so respectful, so seeing him go through the pain he is breaks my heart more and more every day."
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, please don’t suffer alone. Call Samaritans for free on their anonymous 24-hour phone line on 116 123