Charles van Duren

I was born in the Netherlands in 1946, and my family immigrated to Canada in 1960. I grew up in Guelph, Ontario, and met my wife Judith at the University of Guelph in 1969. The next 10 years were described on my resume as providing “varied experience.” This included homesteading in Quebec, skiing at Whistler, and learning construction trades. We returned to university in 1981 to study computer science. This led us to Alberta's Athabasca University.

 

On retirement in 2007 we moved to Lower Economy, Nova Scotia, on the shores of the Minas Basin. Our journey with MAID started when Judith was diagnosed with very advanced metastasized lung cancer in February 2017. With no hope of recovery, and with her body failing rapidly, Judith applied for MAID. Her request was granted. She was afraid that any of the cancer lesions could incapacitate her before she could give active assent to The Big Needle, as she called it, but she was able to do so and died peacefully on May 2, 2018.

 

MAID gave Judith back control by allowing her to choose when and how she would die. I see DWDC as a vehicle for mobilizing the widespread support for the choice made by Judith and others in her position, and hope to see improved legislation that recognizes this basic human right.