Esther Rantzen's emotional Christmas as she considers assisted dying

Dame Esther Rantzen said she might 'buzz off to Zurich' if her treatment doesn't work

British journalist Esther Rantzen celebrated Christmas with her family. (Getty)
Dame Esther Rantzen celebrated Christmas with her family. (Getty)

Dame Esther Rantzen's daughter Rebecca Wilcox gave an emotional insight into their Xmas, saying: "This Christmas was to be like no other for my family."

Rantzen, 83, is undergoing treatment for stage four lung cancer but the Rantzen is considering assisted dying in Switzerland if it doesn’t work. "I might buzz off to Zurich," she told the BBC, where assisted dying is legal and she has joined non-profit organisation Dignitas. Assisted suicide is banned in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

At the start of this year, Rantzen's family didn't think she would make Xmas but they were delighted to have a Christmas miracle and celebrate the day all together. Days after Christmas, Wilcox shared the details from the big day and her heartache that it could be her mum’s final one with them.

Wilcox, also a TV presenter, wrote in her column for The Mirror: "It’s not often that you know beforehand it will be the last time you will dish out turkey and pull crackers at the table with your mother, but that’s what this year has been for us."

Despite the sadness, Wilcox revealed every moment was a “precious treasure” and she spent as much time with her mum as she could. She said she enjoyed watching her own children Benjamin, 11, and Alexander, 8, play solitaire together for hours.

From singing karaoke together to opening presents and enjoying Christmas dinner as a family, the mum-of-two said their memories would last a lifetime. She added: "It was a day filled with so much love that our memories will last."

Never giving up hope, the devoted daughter said she was hoping for another Christmas miracle. She finished with: "Hopefully until next year, when I would like to tell you we’ve had another Christmas miracle and Mum is coming to celebrate with us. She has a habit of making the impossible possible, so watch this space."

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Dame Esther Rantzen's daughter Rebecca Wilcox got emotional talking about her mum considering ​​assisted dying in Switzerland.
Dame Esther Rantzen's daughter Rebecca Wilcox got emotional talking about her mum considering ​​assisted dying in Switzerland.

In the lead up to Christmas, Rantzen's daughter made an emotional TV appearance where she discussed her mum considering assisted dying. She said on Good Morning Britain: "We're allowed to make decisions in everything in our lives. We make these decisions about our pets. If mum is experiencing such dreadful decisions and no hope, then why can’t we make this decision?"

At the same time, she said she would want to "ground" her mum's plane. In a tearful interview, she further explained: "It’s really hard to talk about because I don’t want her to die but I want her to have a choice... Those that want to have a dignified painless death that is a positive experience. We should talk about death as a positive experience."

Esther Rantzen considering assisted dying

Esther Rantzen said she is considering assisted dying. (Getty)
Esther Rantzen said she is considering assisted dying. (Getty)

Rantzen said she was considering assisted dying in a revealing interview with Radio 4's The Today podcast on 19 December. If the treatment she is having doesn't work, she said: "I might buzz off to Zurich." The Dame said she wanted her family's memories of her not to be painful. "Because if you watch someone you love having a bad death, that memory obliterates all the happy times," she said.

She acknowledged if she did decide to have an assisted death at Dignitas it would put friends and family in a "difficult position". "They would want to go with me and that means that the police might prosecute them," she explained at the time.

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