'I want to die with dignity' - Terminally ill man calls for law change

David Minns, from Mildenhall, is calling for a change in the law on assisted dying

David Minns, from Mildenhall, is calling for a change in the law on assisted dying - Credit: David Minns

A terminally ill Suffolk man is fighting for a change in the law on assisted dying so people without long to live can have a choice to control their deaths. 

David Minns was diagnosed with multiple myeloma - a form of blood cancer - in 2020, and, as a consequence, also developed a rare, organ damaging condition called amyloidosis. 

The 74-year-old, from Mildenhall, said he knows a change in the law would come too late for him, but he wants others to have a choice. 

He told this newspaper: "I want to die with a certain amount of dignity but there's never going to be law in my lifetime. I'm not going to survive long enough for this to go through parliament. 

"I'm just trying to influence people, trying to change the hearts and minds of MPs who, at the moment, are against assisted dying. 

"Polls show that the public in general are in favour of assisted dying."

David Minns with daughter Katie, who died last year from cancer aged 46

David Minns with daughter Katie, who died last year from cancer aged 46 - Credit: David Minns

David also lost his daughter, Katie, to cancer last year after she was diagnosed with a sarcoma in her face seven years previously. 

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Katie had surgery on her face but died in July 2021 after slowly declining over several months. 

"Having witnessed my daughter's death and the circumstances in which she died, no one should have to die under those circumstances," he said. 

"They [MPs] talk about conscience. But I feel like they're losing sight of the suffering that terminally ill people have to go through before they die."

David said he does not want to take his own life at home as his own brother Tony died from suicide when he was 71, and he promised his daughter Katie he would not do that. 

There is no cure for David's cancer and he fears he will suffer a long and agonising death. 

"The best case scenario is that I have a heart attack," the former hairdresser said. "I won't have assisted dying as an option but because of my daughter, suicide for me is not an option. It's not something I am going to do." 

David Minns from Mildenhall with daughter Katie

David Minns with daughter Katie - Credit: David Minns

The last time an assisted dying bill was considered in parliament was in 2015 - but it was defeated with an overwhelming majority. 

However, laws in many countries around the world have changed since then. 

David spoke to MPs on the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Choice at the End of Life about his experiences via Zoom on Thursday. 

He also urged people to sign a petition to legalise assisted dying, which has already gained more than 40,000 signatures. 

"I want people to understand where I am and why I'm doing what I'm doing. It's really difficult to keep myself together and ensure that my message gets across," he added. 

"I don't want people feeling sorry for me. I've had a fantastic life, and I have no regrets. I don't have a problem with dying, it's just how I die." 

Campaign group Dignity in Dying are calling for a change in the law, and more information can be found here