The parents of a terminally ill man believed to have taken his own life after suffering from Huntington’s Disease have called for a change in the law to allow euthanasia for those already facing death.
The body of 37-year-old Billy Frost was found at a quarry on Rein Road in Tingley on January 29, one day after he’d been reported missing by his family.
His parents, Richard and Shirley Frost, said their son had been suffering from Huntington’s Disease, a degenerative illness that is passed on through genes. It attacks the brain and heavily affects the sufferer’s ability to think, talk and move. It can also cause depression and in its later stages makes walking, speaking and swallowing difficult.
Mrs Frost said: “That illness is terrible, absolutely awful, but most people don’t realise or know about it. Even a lot of health professionals haven’t heard of it. As a result Billy didn’t get any help from anyone outside of his own family.”
The couple, from East Ardsley, said that Billy, who worked for a removals firm before the disease struck him, needed more emotional support from the NHS and social services. His condition was made all the worse by his inability to eat lots of sugary and fatty foods - recommended to sufferers of Huntington’s - because he was diabetic.
Mr Frost said: “Over the last two or three years he really noticed a big difference in him. He did say a couple of times that he didn’t want the help, but you only had to look at him to know that he needed it. I don’t know anything about medical things but I know my son.”
Having observed the pain Billy went through, his parents are now calling for the government to help terminally ill patients take their own lives to prevent more people, like Billy, having to do so painfully and alone.
Mr Frost said: “The point we’re trying to get across is that Billy wasn’t a waster. He was in so much pain and that’s why he did it. It took some guts to do what he did.”
“Why let people suffer? It’s not fair and it’s also not fair on those who find the bodies of those who’ve killed themselves.”
Mr and Mrs Frost say they will remember their son, who at one time sold programmes on matchdays for his beloved Leeds United, for his quirky sense of humour and his happy go lucky personality.
“He used to laugh and laugh,” his mum recalled. “He was very caring as a little lad.”
“If you needed cheering up he’d make you laugh.” Mr Frost added. “That’s what we’ve missed over the last two or three years when he got worse.”
The couple made a point of thanking the Huntington’s Disease Association, for their “fantastic” treatment of Billy and to those who found his body.
Mr Frost said: “The lads who found him were great with us and they took us round to where Billy was found. We appreciate what they did, because it must have been hard for them too.”
Respects will be paid when Billy’s funeral is held on Monday. org.uk.