Emiel Pauwels, the 95-year old sprinter who won the amazing race seen in the video above, elected to be euthanized last week. Pauwels, the “Belgian Bolt”, suffered from stomach cancer and had been restricted to bed rest the last few months of his life. The 2013 European Veterans Athletics Championship was held in San Sebastian, Spain where Emiel Pauwels won the gold medal in the over 90 division for the 60 meter sprint.
Euthanasia, for medical reasons, has been legal in Belgium since 2002 for people over the age of 18. More than 1400 people a year choose to be euthanized. Last year, the Belgium senate voted to allow euthanasia for terminally ill children as well. The vote passed overwhelmingly in the senate and is now being hotly debated in the lower house of parliament. If the bill passes, Belgium will become the first nation in the world that legally allows people of any age to be euthanized.
“There is no age for suffering and, next to that, it’s very important that we have a legal framework for the doctors who are confronted with this demand today and for the minors, for the capable minors, who are suffering today, and who I think should have the freedom to choose how they cope with their suffering,” said Senator Jean-Jacques de Gucht, of the Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats.
But Emiel Pauwels was not sad at all in the face of death. In fact, before his final adventure into death, Pauwels threw a blow out party. The celebration toasted to his victories in life with champagne.
“It is the best party of my life,” Pauwels was quoted as saying. “Who would not want to go out with champagne and surrounded by all their friends? When the doctor arrives with his injection, I shall leave this world knowing that I have led a full life.”
The 95-year old sprinter celebrated his last days at home with friends and family.