'My ill mum asked me to help her die - I want others to have a choice'

Victoria Burns’ mother Heather died ten weeks after being diagnosed with terminal oesophageal cancer. 

A woman campaigning for Scots to have the right to chose when to end their life has spoken of how her terminally ill mother asked her to help end her life.

Victoria Burns’ mother Heather died ten weeks after being diagnosed with terminal oesophageal cancer. 

Along with her two sisters, Victoria cared for their mother at home during her final days and say she begged them to help her end her life. 

“She was terrified and she was in pain and she just wanted to go and she asked them to help her and she also asked us to help her,” Victoria told STV News. 

“We actually thought about putting a pillow over her face, like, that’s horrific. It’s cruel. 

“We knew that she was going to die and we just wanted her, you know, to go as quickly as possible and with dignity ​​and it just didn’t work out like that.”

It comes as Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur brought his members Bill on legalising assisted dying for terminally ill Scots to Holyrood on Tuesday. 

The proposals would give mentally competent adults with a terminal diagnosis the right to end their life if requested.

But Scots would not be able to opt for the procedure for any other reason, and safeguards would include independent assessments by two doctors.

It’s the third attempt to introduce assisted dying laws at Holyrood and the Bill is not currently supported by the First Minister or the health secretary

Marianne Scobie from Glasgow Disability AllianceSTV News

Critics of McArthur’s proposed Bill said the legislation would put vulnerable people “at risk of abuse and coercion”.

Marianne Scobie from Glasgow Disability Alliance added that disabled people need additional support in their day to day lives, not “assistance to die”.

She said: “We’re so opposed to this because particularly at this moment in time, there are so many things against us that, you know, this is the last thing that we need to be campaigning for or supporting. 

“We want assistance to live, not assistance to die.”

The Bill is due to be published next year and Victoria said she believes that terminally ill Scots should have the right to choose when they die. 

She said: “I believe that people, in this day and age especially, have the right to have a choice. 

“I’m sitting here where [my mother’s] ashes are scattered and I think she would be proud of us and there’s no way we’re ever going to give up until it happens and it’s in her memory. 

“It’s too late for her, but it’s not too late for other people.”

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