Donor spotlight: Pam’s Story
Personal Stories | February 26, 2021 | Pam Lawton
Dying with Dignity Canada’s supporters are passionate allies in the defense of human rights. Some choose to raise awareness by sharing their personal end-of-life experiences, others volunteer at the local level with one of our regional Chapters, send a letter to decision-makers, act as an Independent Witness for medical assistance in dying, or give a gift to advance our mission.
Throughout the year, we will be highlighting the stories and contributions of DWDC’s donors, and what motivates them to give so generously.
This is Pam’s story.
On July 4, 1907, my father was born in Nobleton, Ontario, the sixth and last child of the Hill family. A funny guy, he always claimed the U.S. July 4th holiday was a celebration of him being born here and not there! On September 6, 1932, my father married Eileen DeGuerre and I was born on May 16, 1937. In 1930, my father and his siblings began a very successful paper business you might recognize – Hilroy – which was sold to a U.S. company in the 1990s and is still alive and well today.
My father was a bit of a philosopher and we always discussed end-of-life situations. He did not want long suffering and pain. I always knew he belonged to a right-to-die society in England. At the time, planning for end-of-life was not discussed, by anyone, anywhere, but Pop and I always talked about death and dying. We talked about the fact that we didn’t want to suffer intolerably. My father died at home in 1984 from mouth cancer. He took more sleeping pills than he was prescribed to end his suffering.
Back then, I followed and supported the work of Dying With Dignity Canada (DWDC). I spoke to friends about the organization and end-of-life choice, much like I did with my Dad, in order to spark conversation. I had grieved over too many long-suffering and painful deaths.
I do not want to suffer in the end and back in the 1990s I made arrangements with two very strong, close friends to help me in my time of need; but DWDC persisted and helped change the law in Canada. They were supported and people spoke up. Now we hear about people being helped, noticed and written about. Recently my ex-sister-in-law had a medically assisted death and she was able to thank me for telling her about DWDC over the years. She was in bed with her daughter at her side. Beauty! Joy! Peace! I thank you – she thanked you.
I support DWDC and all its efforts. I donate as much as I can readily afford and DWDC is in my will. I’m a relentless advocate sharing articles and advance care planning forms with all my friends. How can I begin to thank you? You have saved me and you have given me peace in my final years. I don’t have to think about travelling in the end to Holland or the United States. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and throughout my whole being.