There are many forces that differentiate us in the world: politics, religion, beliefs, to name only a few. One thing that unites us is the desire to die with dignity. Asunción Alvarez, president of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies said, “Around the globe, many people fight to make a death with dignity possible for themselves and those they love. It is these people that we would like to put in the spotlight for World Right to Die Day 2022; the Champions, who through their support, activism, fighting, writing, willpower, vision and strength, are advocating to make right to die legislation possible all over the world.”
At 18.30 local time on November 2nd, Dying with Dignity Western Australia (DWDWA) will post the World of Champions map on their website as will all 58 World Federation of Right to Die Societies spread through 30 countries across six continents.
Rob Jonquière, Executive Director said, “The World of Champions tells the stories of the parents, children, siblings, activists, doctors, supporters and volunteers who are working to make dying with dignity possible from all the corners of the earth. It is a testimony of their struggle and the complexities they face in championing the right to die with dignity. In some areas, the map is empty, and while there are certainly Champions in each of these countries, their efforts are shrouded in silence without right to die societies to support their cause and tell their story. We hope that they will join us in time.”
According to DWDWA President, Steve Walker, selecting just one Champion to represent the Western Australian campaign to legalise voluntary assisted dying was a challenge.
“Our organisation has been advocating for law reform for decades and even restricting the selection to our successful campaign in 2019, there were so many people we could have named as our Champions.” said Mr Walker. “In the end, we chose Dinny Laurence who worked ceaselessly and with the utmost dedication to get assisted dying legislation passed.”
When asked for comment Dinny said that she “was overwhelmed to be up there with all those courageous and dauntless people - some of whom were willing to risk their professions and incarceration to fight for what they believed in. I am grateful that – with the support of countless others – I was able to play a part in the great Australian VAD success story”.
Steve also acknowledged the significant contribution made by Shayne Higson to the WA campaign as a consultant to DWDWA on a range of issues. She travelled to WA a number of times to participate in rallies and other campaign events, and has left us a lasting legacy of photographs.
Shayne is also the Champion in her own right for New South Wales (story 8) for her tireless work for voluntary assisted dying, both as a candidate for the Voluntary Euthanasia Party and as vice-president of Dying with Dignity NSW.
At the biannual World Federation Conference of Right to Die Societies in Toronto, Canada, WFRtDS president Asunción Alvarez will unveil the World of Champions map at a special presentation at 18.30 [EDT] and discuss the achievements of our Champions thus far in 2022 and the challenges we face in 2023.