Brighton MS Sufferer Ends His Own Life at Dignitas

Trust The Argus to give its seal of approval to the Culture of Death. Brighton & Hove's daily local newspaper, fresh from persecuting a local Catholic priest has covered 'in deepest sympathy', that is, in deepest sympathy with assisted suicide, the news of a Brighton man's ending of his personal struggle with MS at the offshore death chamber in Switzerland known as Dignitas.

There is something quite disturbing about this article. Someone is missing from it.

The article reports...

'A man who featured in a documentary about his battle against multiple sclerosis has died at a euthanasia clinic in Switzerland. Renowned graphic artist Johnny Hicklenton, best known for his work on comic books Judge Dredd and 2000AD, visited the Dignitas assisted suicide clinic after a ten year fight against the disease.

Friend Adam Lavis, who co-directed the TV documentary, travelled with 42-year-old Mr Hicklenton to the clinic. He described the Brighton artist as a “warrior.” He said: “Over the years he became a very good friend. He was someone I worked with but he became someone much more than that to me. He was like a brother. Despite the love of his family and friends, the MS became like torture. It was like a war for him, and he fought for as long as he could. The bravery for him to get up and go through that door was staggering. The decision to go to Dignitas really focused him. He decided a while ago that he didn't want to go down the road where it would permanently disable him.” He added that Mr Hicklenton had passed away at the clinic on Friday March 19.

Mr Lavis said: “He said that if he hadn't gone last week he wouldn't have been able to travel. It enabled him to live a lot longer. He said to me that he would've given up last year if he didn't have Dignitas in his mind. He beat MS. It takes away the control of your life but this gave him control.”

Mr Hicklenton's fight against MS, which he was diagnosed with in 2000, was the subject of the award-winning documentary ‘Here's Johnny’, produced by Brighton production company Animal Monday. Mr Hicklenton’s body was cremated in Switzerland. His ashes are to be flown back to the UK shortly for a memorial service.

A spokeswoman for the MS Trust said: "The fact that John Hicklenton was prepared to use his fame to raise awareness of a condition so often overlooked by the media, and to wage his personal war on MS so publicly is something that is greatly appreciated by people in the MS community.

"Anyone wanting more information on MS should contact the MS Trust on 01462 476700 or visit www.mstrust.org.uk.” 

Aside from offering our condolences to the family of this well-loved man, what can we say to them? They must be devastated. Oh, hang on, we don't know how they feel about this tragedy because those pioneers in journalistic excellence at The Argus have either not been able to contact them or decided their views were unnecessary, just printed the views of his "friend" in the media .

The other deeply disturbing aspect of this story is that the Multiple Schlorosis Trust have tacitly given approval of Mr Hicklenton's actions in the press when it should, in fact, be stressing that just because you suffer from MS, you don't have to kill yourself and that there is help and support out there if you are suffering with this chronic disease. God help this country and may the soul of Mr Hicklenton and the souls of all the departed rest in peace.

Comments

Anonymous said…
You evil little .... My mother died of MS in the late 80s, and it was one of the most tragic, most heart breaking sights I have ever had to endure. Had there been any option available to alleviate her suffering, she would have gladly taken it and, knowing what she went through, I would have been glad to see here delivered from those agonies. There is not a day that passes where I do not remember her pain, and curse the cruelty of life for inflicting it upon her. You, on the other hand, do not give a damn about people. You are only concerned in defending your bigotry and prejudice, brain washing people into fear and suffering. Next time you want to write about the rights and wrong of MS sufferers' actions, try to acquaint yourself with the basics of human sympathy and think of those suffering from the disease rather than trying to score cheap moral points. Go back to defending child abusers. You scum bag
Helix said…
Culture of death!!! Your whole world-view relies upon negating the here and now and waiting to rot in a box (believe me honey, there is no new world when we go). Can't we just send all the Christians to Dignitas so you can be reunited with the Creator sooner?? (or rot in a box like everyone else).
Anonymous

I am sorry for your loss.

This article is about suicide, assisted suicide and its promotion by a newspaper and the MS Trust.

Helix

Nothing would give Catholics greater joy than to be martyred and enjoy God forever, while praying that their persecutors do not suffer eternal damnation for martyrinng them.
Well...some Catholics.
By the way, Anonymous, the Church is all for the alleviation of suffering.

This is called mercy which Christ encouraged us towards.

The Church is not into murder of self or others or aiding and abetting it. This is the opposite of mercy. Though it is often dressed up as mercy, it is not. It is the taking of human life.

If booking into a hotel and getting someone to inject you with a lethal cocktail of barbiturates is such a great thing, why is it that it is only available in Switzerland and the Swiss Government in October published proposals which could close down controversial suicide centre Dignitas?
Anonymous said…
Why indeed. Why in Nazi Germany were mentally defective children executed by the State? Because there were enough people who thought that their wacky ideas about right and wrong should be imposed on everyone else. Why are there many similar people (like you) knocking around today? You tell me. If you think God is going to punish you because, let's say, I want to choose death over a pitiful life then I pity you for worshipping such a disturbing idol. If you don't, but you still want to stop me doing it, then I am afraid you are simply telling me what to do. Let's be clear here - I'm NOT advocating a world view in which people come and go as they choose, so to speak. What would such a world even look like! I presume it is not just legal prohibition that prevents people taking their own lives for the hell of it, after all, you can kill yourself without going to a clinic. But, when you are in the terminal stages of MS, as my mother was, you are aware that you will die soon, by the end she had a two month death sentence. If she had decided that this was going to be her last chance to enjoy life, and embraced each day, then that would have been HER decision, and I would have been happy to see her through it. But she did not. She knew that each day would become more difficult than the last, she desperately wanted to be dead, and she was unable to enjoy a second of it. Who are you to condemn the decision to die in those circumstances? And on what grounds? Why is it your business that a person would not wish to experience hell for two months before dying in a broken state. Dignity, as I'm sure you will agree, is essential to the human condition. There is no dignity in enduring pain simply to please the theological whims of a few militants. If, God forbid, you should suffer such an illness, I am sure your faith will be a comfort to you. It was not a comfort to her. Nor, it seems, was it a comfort to the man about whom you chose to write. Why then is it any of your concern what those people do. Like I said, imposing your morality on others because it makes you feel good is simply evil
Hate to blow your 'freedom' line out of the water, but assisted suicide and volutary euthanasia is EXACTLY how Nazi Germany started!
Anonymous said…
No, it was when senior Catholics whipped up mass-support for the deportation of Jews. Yet another moral test failed for the Evil Empire of Italy
Anonymous said…
I'm a crip who has MS like symptoms. I have lots of pain every day and until a recent and much begged for change in meds, most nights too. I struggle, I have days that are so bad I wish I was dead. I shake and shiver and trip and need a wheelchair and feel guilty and...you get the picture.
So called assisted suicide tells me that people who do this think people like me have no right to be alive. We have no right to inflict our suffering on others; we should die.
I loathe those people and God help me-I'm not sure I can forgive them.
They trot out crips onto TV so that able people can look down on all of us with pity.
Well I am HUMAN TOO and I'M NOT DEAD YET! S
Thank you Laurence for your genuine empathy.
Anonymous said…
This will get confusing now as I am the anonymous who posted before - look, basically I don't believe you. Your argument is suspicious, and I don't follow your logic. You are pretending to have MS (you scum bag) to make a weak case against assisted suicide. As I made clear, if one wishes to suffer that is their decision, but if not, then that is also their decision. By the way pal, if you were in the terminal stages of MS, you wouldn't be able to wipe your own arse, let alone use a key board to type out that despicable excuse for a defence of stupidity
PaulineG said…
Anonymous 1,

I am truly sorry that your mother endured so much. But how do you reconcile this with the words, for example, of Baroness Finlay, a leading palliative care specialist, when she observes that repeated calls for assisted dying are "vanishingly rare with good sensitive care"?

Experience suggests that the prime motivator for seeking assisted suicide is not physical suffering but a desire for control.

So, I am left wondering whether your mother's care was good enough.

The problem we have is that pain relief and palliative care is not adequately resourced in this country: Although the expertise is there it is not available to all. Hence the Care not Killing Alliance which campaigns for what it say on the tin.

You are clearly angry but you do your case no service by your intemperate and uncharitable language, particularly towards Anonymous 2. Is he/she not suffering enough?

Please consider that many vulnerable people are deeply concerned that the current aggressive and unbalanced campaign for a change in the law will lead ultimately to a culture in which killing becomes an accepted alternative to good care.

Anonymous 2,

I am so sorry you are suffering this way. Could you not ask for another specialist and seek better care? If that fails try writing to Baroness Finlay for advice (House of Lords).

Laurence,

Thank you for your characteristically acute and compassionate observations.
Anonymous said…
I have MS, and the notion that someone would end their life truly terrifies me. The thing that sustains me is my faith in God and his infinite Mercy. I don't profess to speak for anyone but myself but it gives MS and its millions of sufferers great pain to hear stories of this nature. Where there is life there is hope and it is not our life to take. I feel terrible that anyone would see suicide as the only option and it gives the sufferers of this disease no comfort. It is an awful disease but we have life and must cherish it.
Anonymous said…
I have just come across this blog on the internet and am absolutely horrified by this posting.

Johnny was my younger brother. He was a brave, dignified, funny, kind, thoughtful and talented man.

I miss him every single day.

I don't miss knowing the constant pain he was in, the falls he had, the fact he was confined to his flat in a wheelchair, the endless sleepless nights he had in spite of the awful exhaustion he endured with MS. I don't miss the fear he had to suffer every day about what symptoms would be rearing their very ugly heads next.
He was coping with stuff that I hope you never have to face, you wicked individual. He was 30 when he got MS. How old are you?
The ignorance, spite and bile in this post is absolutely unbelievable. I assume it comes from repression, fear, inadequacy and immaturity. I'm a Christian and I don't judge people like you do.
It's none of your business that as a family we haven't been quoted by the newspapers.
There's been masses about him on the internet and we have maintained a dignified silence in his honour but this nasty nasty stuff is one step too far.
People are not dogs! We don't just have them put down or support them being put down when they're suffering!

It is people who aid, abett and support suicide who are wicked, those who put a price on the life of another, not those who condemn it.

I don't judge him, I don't judge you and I sympathise with your grief and your bereavement, but assisted suicide is not something that should be promoted, end of.

May his soul rest in peace.