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Woman Had To Pay £10,000 To End Her Life After Suffering For A Decade

Jake Massey

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Woman Had To Pay £10,000 To End Her Life After Suffering For A Decade

Featured Image Credit: Liverpool Echo

A woman had to pay £10,000 ($12,000) to end her own life after suffering for more than a decade.

Glenys Porter had Huntington's disease, a hereditary neurological disorder which progressively deprives a person of their ability to walk, talk or swallow.

The former jeweller spent more than 10 years battling the advanced stages of the disease, but with no hope of a cure, she tried to take her own life on numerous occasions.

Ultimately, her sons Andrew and Peter ended up travelling with her to Switzerland so she could have an assisted death with Dignitas, aged 67.

The headquarters of Dignitas in Switzerland. Credit: Alamy
The headquarters of Dignitas in Switzerland. Credit: Alamy

Andrew, from Southport, Merseyside, is now sharing his mum's story in a bid to highlight how the UK's laws around assisted dying lack compassion.

He said: "She moved into a cottage in Churchtown from Bath but it wasn't until some years later that she went downhill.

"My stepfather Bill, who used to be a nurse in the RAF was going to be mum's carer but unfortunately, Bill was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and died in Queenscourt Hospice two years before mum decided to go to Dignitas.

"Mum had always kept Dignitas in mind but she had never really told us because of the current law not allowing people to have an assisted death.

She suffered for years before ending her life with Dignitas. Credit: Ormskirk Advertiser
She suffered for years before ending her life with Dignitas. Credit: Ormskirk Advertiser

"My brother Peter and I looked at a number of different options over three or four years such as us looking after her but she wanted to take control of her death."

He continued: "The law at the moment lacks compassion and it's unequal. My mum was in the position where she could afford to go to Dignitas because it costs somewhere in the region of £10,000."

Glenys was just one of many people with a serious health condition who has attempted to take their own life.

New research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that people with chronic lung conditions and cancers which are likely to be fatal are around two-and-a-half times more likely to end their own lives.

The campaign group Dignity in Dying said the data shows that instances of terminally ill people taking their own lives 'are not isolated tragedies but warning signs' of serious patient safety implications under the current law.

Chief executive, Sarah Wootton, said: "The data today confirms that the blanket ban on assisted dying is not only uncompassionate and unequal, but deeply unsafe for our terminally ill citizens, and it must act as a clarion call for Parliament to examine the full impact of the current law.

"This is not simply a matter for debate but of patient safety, of the utmost urgency."

Care Not Killing, a UK alliance which opposes a law change, said the figures do not demonstrate the need for a change in the law on assisted dying.

A protest supporting changes to the UK's assisted dying laws earlier this year. Credit: Alamy
A protest supporting changes to the UK's assisted dying laws earlier this year. Credit: Alamy

Chief executive Dr Gordon Macdonald said the numbers instead suggest that 'much more work needs to be done to support dying and vulnerable people by providing them with universal access to treatment for both their physical and psychological needs'.

He continued: "This means extending high quality palliative care to all those who need it, not reaching for a cheap short-term solution of facilitating a rise in people committing suicide or having their lives ended by the state."

If you or someone you know is experiencing feelings of isolation and distress or thoughts of suicide, The Samaritans are on hand to help you through the most difficult times. 

You can call them in confidence on 116 123, email [email protected], or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

You can also call MIND on 0300 123 3393 or CALM on 0800 58 58 58.

In the USA, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255) if you or someone you know is in need of mental health assistance urgently. 

The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Topics: UK News

Jake Massey
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