A Canadian man has changed his mind about ending his life through medically assisted suicide after an outpouring of support from good Samaritans.
Amir Farsoud said he is no longer considering euthanasia after strangers who were moved by his story donated more than $60,000 to help him, which will allow him to avoid homelessness.
“I’m a different person,” Farsoud told Toronto-based CityNews, which first shared his story. “The first time we spoke, I had nothing but darkness, misery, stress and hopelessness. Now I have all the opposite of those things.”
Farsoud, 54, lives with agonizing chronic back pain due to an accident several years ago. During the worst bouts of pain, he was “crying like a 5-year-old and not sleeping for days in a row,” he said. He also takes depression and anxiety medication.
He is unable to work and lives on checks from Ontario’s government disability assistance program. He felt there was no way to avoid homelessness after the St. Catharine’s, Ontario, rooming house he shares with two other people was listed for sale.
Farsoud had applied for Medical Aid in Dying (MAID), Canada’s legal euthanasia program. He had gotten one doctor to sign off on his application and needed one more doctor to approve it while he waited the mandatory 90-day waiting period. He expected to be eligible as early as this month.
“I don’t want to die but I don’t want to be homeless more than I don’t want to die,” Farsoud previously told CityNews. “I know, in my present health condition, I wouldn’t survive it anyway. It wouldn’t be at all dignified waiting, so if that becomes my two options, it’s pretty much a no-brainer.”
His story deeply moved a stranger, a Canadian woman named Effie, who set up a GoFundMe for him, hoping to raise enough money to convince him not to end his life. The fundraiser had pulled in $60,289 as of Wednesday afternoon.
Now, Farsoud is no longer seeking to move forward with his assisted suicide.
“I honestly thought by December I wouldn’t be here. So no, I certainly did not envision this by any stretch of the imagination,” Farsoud said.
Farsoud said he has also received more than just money.
“There has been this amazing outpouring of love and support, emotional support. There’s been therapists that have gotten in touch to do like online or on the phone therapy,” he said.
Farsoud said he hasn’t felt this grateful and happy since he was 12 when his family immigrated to France from Iran to escape the revolution.
“I have felt like this one time in my life. When we left Iran and got to France, we left the plane and I was a kid, but I fell to my knees and kissed the tarmac, because no one was going to shoot me, no demonstrations, no army, no burning buildings. I’m going to get up in the morning knowing I wouldn’t be dead that night,” explained Farsoud. “The way I feel or have been feeling since this happened, that’s the closest I’ve come [to that],” he said.
Still, Farsoud has not ruled out using MAID in the future, as he expects his chronic back pain to become too painful to bear at some point in the future. For now though, he is not planning for it.
“It’s amazing what an act of kindness can do,” he said. “I wouldn’t have thought it possible the kindness and humanity and compassion I saw, I didn’t think it existed anymore. It does.”