Champagne bubbles danced in fancy glasses and birthday candles burned atop a cheesecake marking 104 years of a long and accomplished life.
David Goodall listened quietly as his loved ones started to sing.
Then he took a breath, made a wish and blew out the flames.
But Goodall was not wholeheartedly celebrating the milestone this month in Perth, Australia. The botanist and ecologist, who is thought to be the country’s oldest scientist, said that he has lived too long. And now, he said, he is ready to die.
“I greatly regret having reached that age. I would much prefer to be 20 or 30 years younger,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. When asked whether he had a nice birthday, he told the news organization: “No, I’m not happy. I want to die. … It’s not sad, particularly. What is sad is if one is prevented.”
“My feeling is that an old person like myself should have full citizenship rights, including the right of assisted suicide,” the 104-year-old added.
Goodall is set to travel more than 8,000 miles this week to Switzerland. That country, like most others, has not passed legislation legalizing assisted suicide, but under some circumstances its laws do not forbid it.
It’s there, in northwestern Switzerland, where Goodall plans to die.
For the past two decades, Goodall has been a member of Exit International, a nonprofit organization based in Australia that advocates for the legalization of euthanasia, according to the group’s website.
Exit’s founder, Philip Nitschke, said on a GoFundMe page for Goodall that the group’s West Australian coordinator, who is a friend of Goodall, will accompany him Wednesday to Basel, a city in northwestern Switzerland near the French and German borders.
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Lindsey Bever