"the Embuggerance is finally catching up with me"
July 4, 2014 12:30 PM Subscribe
I have been putting off writing this announcement for quite some time and on good days thought I wouldn’t have to write it at all. However, it is with great reluctance that I have to tell you all that I will not be able to attend the upcoming Discworld Convention in Manchester. I am very sorry about this, but I have been dodging the effects of PCA and have been able to write for much longer than any of us ever thought possible, but now The Embuggerance is finally catching up with me, along with other age-related ailments. I know people will have already made plans far in advance and some will be travelling a long way, but this is the first time ever that I have been unable to attend a UK convention and I really am very sorry. They say time marches on, and it does, even though I have been running very fast to keep one step ahead of it. I really was looking forward to seeing your smiley, happy faces. Have fun everyone. Yes, on this occasion, have lots of fun.After the happy news Tuesday that sir Terry Pratchett was well along with the fifth Tiffany Aching novel, it came as a shock to hear only a day later that he he had to cancel his appearances at the Discworld con because of his Alzheimer's disease.
Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with posterior cortical atrophy, a rare form of early onset Alzheimer's in 2007 and has been an outspoken supporter of Alzheimer's research, donating one million dollars to the Alzheimer's Research Trust, as well as being open about living with the disease. He deliberately set out not just to get more funding for research, but also to make the disease less taboo, in a similar way the death of Richard Dimbleby of cancer in 1965 helped bring that disease into the open.
He mentions this comparison in his introduction to his 2010 Richard Dimbleby Lecture, Shaking Hands with Death, read by Tony Robinson. In this lecture Pratchett put forth his argument for the right to die, which he followed up in 2011 with the BBC documentary Choosing to Die, following several people who had indeed decided to end their lives and discussing their reasons for doing so.
Sir Terry Pratchett himself has said that he would end his life before the Alzheimer's could take him:
And so I have vowed that rather than let Alzheimer's take me, I would take it. I would live my life as ever to the full and die, before the disease mounted its last attack, in my own home, in a chair on the lawn, with a brandy in my hand to wash down whatever modern version of the Brompton Cocktail some helpful medic could supply. And with Thomas Tallis on my iPod, I would shake hands with Death.
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