Christopher was diagnosed with cancer of the colon in October 2009, leading to the removal of half of his large intestine. Despite this surgery and subsequent chemotherapy, new growths were discovered – nine further tumours. Chemotherapy became palliative.
Writing in November 2011, less than six months before his death from cancer at the age of 58, Christopher reflected that:
‘At three periods – the diagnosis of secondary cancer, the traumatic experience of chemotherapy, and the prognosis of incurability – I was subject to extreme stress and a sense of hopelessness, and I might have been open to the option of ending my life by legal means, had these existed. The legal prohibition of this course was immensely helpful in removing it as a live option, thus constraining me to respond to my situation more creatively and hopefully… My experience has reinforced my conviction that the law prohibiting assisted suicide is an essential bulwark against well-meaning but unwarranted judgements about the value of life and the desirability of ending it in order to minimise or eliminate suffering.’