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20-Year-Old Canadian Man Suffering From Mystery Illness Plans To Die By Assisted Suicide After Hosting ‘Goodbye BBQ’

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A young man from Canada recently made the difficult decision to end his life via assisted suicide after years of medical complications.

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Eric Coulam, 20, hosted a large farewell barbecue with his friends and family with plans to opt-in for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID). He has dealt with over ten years of chronic pain from a mystery illness that doctors in Canada have been unable to diagnose.

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Coulam has said that his gastrointestinal condition has left him with liver and kidney diseases, causing him constant agony.

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As of June 17, 2016, assisted suicide has been legal for adults with a “grievous and irremediable medical condition that causes them enduring and intolerable suffering.” The country amended the law in 2021 to include those patients whose natural death is “not reasonably foreseeable.” 

The MAID program includes a long list of requirements for eligibility, including that the patient must be 18 or older and have a “serious and incurable illness, disease or disability,” which excludes those whose only medical diagnosis is a mental illness until 2023.

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Coulam has been struggling with his health complications and pain for around a decade and has now made the decision that he wants to seek MAID.

The Canadian man hasn’t set a date for the procedure yet, but hosted one last farewell in the “goodbye BBQ” for over 600 friends and family in attendance. 

According to the Mirror, Coulam said, “I sometimes lay there at night and get sad sometimes, but for the most part, I’m waiting for the day because I’m in lots of pain all the time. I’m on many meds just to be comfortable for a few hours.”

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He went on, “I can go when I’m ready, it’s not when I’m sick, it’s not when they pull my meds or anything, it’s when I’m ready. I thought about it for a while, I kind of ghosted my family because I wasn’t in a good place. I knew it was what I wanted to do. It was hard to tell everyone else.”

One of Coulam’s friends shared a post to a Facebook page made in support of the man saying that his friend, “’literally fought tooth & nail & he has been in Hospital all over the place. When I found this out while I was in PG Hospital, I broke down hard because this kid is the nicest guy ever & so respectful, so seeing him go through the pain he is [in] breaks my heart more and more every day.”

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Another of Coulam’s friends started up a GoFundMe to support his goal of checking off every item on his bucket list.

In the fundraiser’s description, she says, “Eric expressed to me how he has a Bucket List of things he’d like to be able to do before he says ‘goodbye,’ but financially isn’t able to afford much being on disability. So I’ve created this GoFundMe in the hopes that this would allow him to do things like helicopter rides, attend events/concerts, be able to do more with his friends, and be able to eat food and drinks that aren’t from the hospital.”

She ended the post saying, “Eric reads all of your comments and messages and although unable to respond to you has said you all have made his heart so happy!”

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For more information about suicide prevention or to speak with someone confidentially, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (U.S.) or Samaritans (U.K.).