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Assisted dying campaigner passes away peacefully in Jersey

Assisted dying campaigner passes away peacefully in Jersey

Monday 03 May 2021

Assisted dying campaigner passes away peacefully in Jersey


An Islander who campaigned to legalise assisted dying in the Island has passed away peacefully at Jersey Hospice.

Alain Du Chemin died on Saturday aged 50 after a year-and-a-half battle with terminal glioblastoma, a particularly aggressive brain tumour.

Knowing that death from this tumour could be both painful and undignified, Mr Du Chemin booked a place at Dignitas in Switzerland to end his life on his own terms.

He also shared his story with the national and local media to add to the debate about assisted dying, and made a submission to a citizens’ jury in Jersey set up to make a proposal to the States about its possible legalisation in the Island.

He recently wrote an open letter to politicians urging them to “do the right thing” when they consider the jury’s submission.

Mr Du Chemin married his partner Paul Gazzard in Jersey on St Valentine’s Day this year. 

In a statement, Mr Gazzard said: “Alain sadly passed away on Saturday 1 May 2021, with family and close friends at his side.

Alain Du Chemin marriage.jpeg

Pictured: Mr Du Chemin (right) married his husband Paul Gazzard in February

“Although fortunately it was a peaceful end, Alain would have lived better in his final months knowing that he had the choice he wanted here at home, without having to plan an assisted death overseas at huge expense and in the middle of a pandemic. 

“Alain was a passionate supporter of an assisted dying law for Jersey and I hope his campaigning has brought this closer to becoming a reality.”

Lifelong friend, Philip Ozouf, said Mr Du Chemin had died pain-free at the Hospice after his condition had deteriorated quickly. 

“In the sad circumstances, his end could not have been better: in Jersey, very quick, and under the amazing care of the staff at the Hospice.

“Alain was a very special, incredibly kind individual who lived his life to the full. He also made a significant contribution to the assisting dying debate and, in his final few weeks, opened the du Chemin Suite at the Hospital, a retinal-screening clinic which will help save many people’s sight for many years to come.”

Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of campaign group Dignity in Dying, said: “We are saddened to hear of Alain’s death and we extend our sincere condolences to his family, friends and local community. 

“Alain has made a huge and lasting contribution to the assisted dying debate on the island, knowing that any change would sadly come too late for him. It has been an honour to help share his powerful words with the citizen’s jury and States Members and we hope they will remain at the front of their minds when recommendations on potential law change are considered and debated later this year. 

“Terminally ill islanders deserve better: access to the best care alongside compassion, choice and control. Jersey can and should lead the way for the British Isles and the rest of the world on end-of-life choice, so that others are not denied the right to die on their own terms as Alain was.”

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