Manchester

Assisted suicide opponent: 'Every breath is precious'

Kathryn Higham gets angry when she hears claims that assisted suicide is the only way to achieve a "dignified" death.

"My aunt had motor neurone disease and handled it with dignity and when her end came it was not with horror or pain but with peace," said the 43-year-old mother of one from Bolton.

Mrs Higham, who has multiple sclerosis, said she was incensed by a new report from The Commission on Assisted Dying, the body set up by campaigners for legalised assisted suicide.

When she was diagnosed with MS in 1999 she feared she would die from the condition.

"I was so relieved when I found out it was not a terminal condition, I realised my life was precious," she said.

"You shouldn't be ending your life, every breath is precious."

She added that she was very angry when she heard other people with MS, such as campaigner Debbie Purdy from Bradford, call assisted suicide laws.

'Very positive view'

"There is no need for anyone to die an agonising, undignified death these days, you do not die of MS, you die of infections caused by your reduced immune system."

Mrs Higham, who works in administration within the NHS, said: "Before I was diagnosed with MS I used to have a very negative view of this type of illness but since I was diagnosed I found I have a very positive view."

She added that people with serious illnesses who campaign for assisted suicide create the wrong impression of everyone with that condition.

"For example it makes it look as if everyone with MS wants to die," she said.

"You never hear of the people with terminal illnesses who die a peaceful, dignified death."

She added: "Having a positive attitude is 50% of the battle. My husband is completely behind me, he doesn't believe in assisted suicide either and also shares my positivity."

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites