Churchill Park United Church is a progressive, affirming Canadian church located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, whose leadership says “is a church that makes you feel at home.” So much at home that it even provides its sanctuary as a place members can feel welcome to bring their lives to an end. On March 9, 2022, 86-year-old Betty Sanguin did just that in an assisted suicide ceremony.
Last spring, Sanguin was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, named for the famous baseball player who was diagnosed with it. According to the Mayo Clinic, ALS “is a progressive nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control.” The disease currently has no cure.
Sanguin’s daughter, Renée, said Sanguin’s health rapidly declined and “within a very short period of time, (the doctors) were talking about a feeding tube, because she couldn’t eat and swallow anymore.”
“My mom saw other people that were further along in their (ALS) diagnosis and all she knew is that she didn’t want that. That’s what my mom struggled with the most,” Sanguin’s other daughter, Lynda, shared.