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Dying wish for daughters

JACQUI and Nat Gray are fighting to introduce laws in Tasmania to allow people suffering from a terminal illness the right to choose how, where, when and with whom they end their life, following their mother, Diane Gray’s 11-month battle with cancer.

Diane had just turned 58 when she died in hospital late 2019 with her two daughters by her side after being diagnosed with stage IV gastric cancer late 2018.

“Mum so desperately wanted to die in the comfort of her own home, at a time of her choosing surrounded by beautiful music, burning candles and in the arms of her loved ones,” Jacqui and Nat said.

“Unfortunately, the majority of wishes we could not fulfil.

“Instead, she was subjected to months of chronic pain and nausea.”

Diane eventually chose starvation and dehydration to speed up the dying process.

“There are so many heartbreaking stories of extreme measures taken to escape the ravishes of disease,” Jacqui and Nat said.

“Ours is just one of them.”

To honour their mother’s legacy and fulfill a promise they made to her, the two daughters have started a campaign called Your Choice Tas to advocate the need for voluntary assisted dying to be legalised as an end of life choice.

They said their mission was to allow all Tasmanians the ability to live fearlessly following a terminal diagnosis and give others the freedom to choose what is right for them in their time of greatest need.

“We want to see an end to the slow, torturous and painful deaths that are currently taking place in the absence of these laws,” they said.

“We want to see Tasmanians given more options at the end of life.

“This fight is not about the emotional or mental affect it has on family and friends left behind after the loss of a loved one.

“This fight is for every single one of our loved ones, who begged us to set them free of their torture, and who were devastatingly denied due to Tasmania’s current laws.”

A voluntary assisted dying bill will be introduced to the Upper House in August 2020.

To help get voluntary assisted dying passed, sign the parliamentary petition at www.yourchoicetas.com.au, share your story with michael.gaffney@parliament.tas.gov.au and write to your local MP to have your say.

“Our mum was the epitome of kindness,” Jacqui and Nat said.

“Her whole world revolved around how she could make others feel appreciated or loved, and her legacy will live on in our pursuit to give Tasmanians the freedom of choice.”

Caption: Jacqui and Nat Gray with their mother Diane (centre).