Oxford County man looks overseas to die with dignity
Marta Czurylowicz , CTV Kitchener
Published Friday, February 10, 2017 6:28PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, February 11, 2017 11:35AM EST
An Oxford County man travelled overseas to seek assistance dying as he did not qualify under Canada’s new assisted dying law.
John Schreurs from Innerkip, roughly 50 kilometres southwest of Kitchener, lived with Huntington’s disease – a fatal genetic disorder causing progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain.
The 54 year old turned to Dignitas, a Swiss company that helps members with assisted suicide. In September he travelled to Switzerland with his family.
It was a journey that cost more than just his life – it cost just under $30,000.
Now, his widow, Erin Schreurs is speaking out about the law criticizing it for being "too restrictive".
“His world was getting smaller and smaller,” said Erin. “There was no help for him.”
The Canadian government's new legislation on assisted dying is limited to adults who are "mentally competent" with incurable conditions and a "reasonably foreseeable" death.
Dying With Dignity said Schreurs is one of a number of Canadians leaving the country to end their lives.
“I think there’s that cost of really feeling abandoned and being a position where you’re forced to leave your community of support to travel to a foreign country to be able to have something that we already have legislation for in this country but doesn't include people like Mr. Schreurs,” said Shanaaz Gokool, Dying With Dignity Canada.
“When a person makes that tough decision that they don't want to live anymore because they don't want to live with their body trapping them, their mind trapping them, they shouldn't have to fight with anybody to die with dignity,” said Erin.
With reporting from CTV Kitchener's Rosie Del Campo