In less than a year, Anne Gabrielides has lost her ability to speak and breathe comfortably and can no longer control her hands.
Soon, the mother-of-three from the Blue Mountains will be confined to a wheelchair, and within another year likely won’t be here at all.
Anne is dying. The 53-year-old has terminal, creeping motor neurone disease and she’s terrified.
“I’m becoming trapped inside my own body, with the same intellect, but unable to speak, eat, clean myself or move,” she says.
“This is a bastard of a disease, I’m asking for NSW politicians to open their hearts and spare those battling crippling terminal illnesses like mine from an undignified, painful and drawn out death."
With the support of her husband Paul and children, the speech pathologist has launched a Change.org petition calling on NSW MPs to vote in favour of legislation that would let people over the age of 25 in the same difficult position as her, choose to end their lives.
More than 55,000 people have already signed the petition.
“Many of these people are nurses, doctors, terminal patients and loved ones who just want to put an end to prolonged suffering - we are asking our politicians to listen and act," Anne says.
“Help me deny this bastard of a disease its last victory."
On Tuesday morning, Anne joined a cross-party working group of five NSW MPs to announce details of the draft Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, which is expected to be introduced to parliament in August, following public consultation, AAP reports.
Nationals MP Trevor Khan, who is leading the group, said he hoped the bill would stop terminally ill patients from resorting to extreme measures to end their suffering.
"Is it fair and reasonable that a person has to choose to starve themselves to death to bring an end to their suffering?"
Mia Freedman speaks with Andrew Denton about life, death and "going gently" (post continues after snippet...):
"That's an appalling choice that's presented to people now," Mr Khan said.
The bill includes several safeguards, such as a 48 hour cooling off period, and the right of close relatives to challenge patient eligibility in court.
Two medical practitioners also need to sign off on the final decision, which is only available to those expected to die within 12 months, suffering from extreme pain or physical disability.
What do you think of the draft bill?