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Tracy Hickman explained why she chose to die by euthanasia before she passed away

Tracy Hickman explained why she chose to die by euthanasia before she passed away

She passed away ‘peacefully’ earlier this week after opting for euthanasia

Warning: This article contains discussion of cancer which some readers may find distressing.

A British woman who chose to die by euthanasia opened up about why she decided to opt for what she felt was the ‘right choice’ for her.

Tracy Hickman, 57, passed away ‘peacefully’ earlier this week, with podcaster Dom Harvey – who had previously interviewed her – saying she had been ‘on the beach in the sunshine’ when she died.

Hickman was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2019 after a routine mammogram.

While the cancer receded, by February 2023 it had returned – and was spreading, leaving her in serious pain, with treatment side effects also including extreme fatigue and incontinence.

In the face of terminal cancer, Hickman - has dual British and New Zealand nationality - decided to take a route that is still not legal in many countries including the UK.

Tracy Hickman died at the age of 57 (Facebook/Tracy Hickman)
Tracy Hickman died at the age of 57 (Facebook/Tracy Hickman)

When asked by Harvey in the weeks before her death why assisted dying felt like the right choice, she spoke about how it gave her the opportunity to ‘exit on her terms’.

“The side effects from the treatment have been horrendous, particularly in the last year. I’m not the person I was,” Hickman revealed.

“With further medication and treatment I could probably be around for a while longer, but I don’t just want to exist. I don’t just want to live and I don’t want to have to deal with the pain and the incontinence and not being able to travel, and all the other stuff that goes with it.

“I’ve lived a very full life, I’m very fortunate with what I’ve been able to do. And [...] I only want to live that sort of life, and if I can’t do that, I want out.”

Hickman said she spent time looking into ‘how she could do it’, knowing she didn’t want to die by suicide.

"I don’t want to do it in a way that would have an impact on other people,” she said.

“You know, if someone commits suicide, it’s awful for the people around them and [it’s] just not a road I want to go down.

“Another way to do it would be to voluntarily stop eating and drinking and that’s not something I want to do.

“I think when people naturally come towards the end of their life with cancer, they’ll lose their appetite, but it’s not a comfortable way to go, it’s not a quick way to go. And it’s not a way that I want my family to see me go.”

She spoke about her decision with podcaster Dom Harvey (YouTube/Dom Harvey)
She spoke about her decision with podcaster Dom Harvey (YouTube/Dom Harvey)

She added: “So this way feels like a gentle way and – you know, none of us want it to happen but I think everyone is supportive of me being able to make the choice, and everybody realises that it’s the right thing for me.

“And over the last two or three weeks, since I’ve sort of been making the decision, I feel so much better. I just feel really comfortable that this is the right choice for me.

“And everybody who knows me, who’s aware of it, has also said yep, they can see the change in me, they can see that I’ve just reached a level of peace.”

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, 8am–8pm seven days a week.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence, contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.

Featured Image Credit: Facebook/ Tracy Hickman

Topics: Cancer, Health, UK News, World News