‘My dad with cancer begged to let him die’

Jackie Taylor, whose father died of asbestosis
Jackie Taylor, whose father died of asbestosis
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“Let me go – I don’t want to be here.”

Spalding mum Jackie Taylor says she will never forget the day her father begged her to help him die after suffering months in agony from cancer.

Last night, thousands of viewers tuned in to watch actress Julie Hesmondhalgh’s final moments as Hayley Cropper in ITV’s Coronation Street, before she took her own life, sparking debates on the right to die.

The emotional scenes featured Hayley deciding to commit suicide to avoid going through the final stages of terminal pancreatic cancer.

Jackie, of Raleigh Court, said her father, Leslie Smith, would have been spared unimaginable agony if he had had the right to die, but it was never an option.

She said: “My father died 17 years ago at the age of 67, just six months after being diagnosed with asbestosis.

“He had been struggling to breathe and tests showed he was terminally ill with lung cancer, which had spread to other parts of his body.

“We brought him home and he also suffered a stroke. My mum looked after him – I was in my twenties and called to see him every day.

“It was painful to watch a man who had been so active and proud lying there in so much agony and struggling to breath.

“When he asked to die I said ‘dad I can’t’ – we’d been so close and I just couldn’t. But I do believe people should have the right to die with dignity. You wouldn’t let an animal suffer, so why let a human being go through agony?”

l If you have been affected by Hayley’s story, information on end of life care is available from Macmillan Cancer Support. For advice about advance care planning, visit www.macmillan.org.uk