ALS: terminally ill woman celebrated a farewell party and committed suicide

Nervous illness ALS: terminally ill woman celebrates farewell party and commits suicide
A terminally ill American celebrated a moving, two-day farewell party at the end of July and then swallowed a deadly drug cocktail. The woman suffered from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), an incurable nerve disorder that became known to many people through the so-called "Ice Bucket Challenge". The invited friends and relatives were asked not to cry at the festival.

The patient wanted to put an end to her life
In late July, 41-year-old American Betsy Davis decided to end her life. In 2013 she was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a nerve disease that is considered to be incurable and became known to many people through the so-called "Ice Bucket Challenge". Before taking her own life, she celebrated a two-day farewell party with her family and friends near San Diego, California.

Incurable nerve disease
The nerve disease ALS, which can cause violent muscle twitches and severe swallowing problems, leads to damage to nerve cells. It is not curable and leads to death in about half of the patients within the first three years. Affected people only live with the disease for longer than a decade in exceptional cases. Betsy Davis got her diagnosis about three years ago. She wanted to decide for herself when her life would end.

Two-day farewell party with family and friends
The 41-year-old decided to say goodbye before her death with a big, two-day party. She sent out invitations to relatives and friends, pointing out that the circumstances may be different, "than from any other celebration you have ever attended. They require emotional staying power and openness, ”reports the British Daily Mail. Davis wrote: “There are no rules. Put on what you want, say what you want, dance, hop, scream, sing, pray, but don't cry in front of me. Oh, OK, a rule. "

Guests received a souvenir from the patient
The 30 guests who had traveled celebrated for two days with the patient, who worked as a painter and performance artist before her illness. According to media reports, there were cocktails and pizza, some guests made music with the instruments they had brought with them. They watched one of Davis' favorite films ("The Dance of Reality") and modeled with the patient's clothes. Finally, everyone present was allowed to take a "Betsy souvenir" with them.

Life in an electric wheelchair
The 41-year-old had spent the whole party in an electric wheelchair, just like the previous months. Because of her illness, she hadn't been able to stand for a long time or to do everyday things, such as brushing her teeth or scratching herself. At the end of the celebrations, all the guests gathered around the hostess for a last photo and kissed her.

Last sunset
Finally, Betsy Davis watched her last sunset and, in the presence of her doctor, a massage therapist, her nurse and her sister, took a lethal drug cocktail. She was dead four hours later. Her suicide occurred only about a month after California law had legalized such an option for incurable patients.

Ice Bucket Challenge raised awareness of illness
The rare nerve disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has been known to many people since the so-called "Ice Bucket Challenge". As part of the campaign, thousands of people around the world poured ice water over their heads to raise money for ALS research. It had only recently been reported that the Ice Bucket Challenge raised hundreds of millions of dollars.

Donations used sensibly
The money that went into research was obviously of great use. Scientists have found new gene variants that contribute to the disease in many cases. Professor Naomi Wray of the University of Queensland (Australia) said: "These three new genes open up new opportunities for research to understand a complex and debilitating disease for which there is currently no effective treatment." According to the experts involved the research has become possible due to the donations. (ad)

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