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My Last Summer TX: 4 Jun 2014, Week 23

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My Last Summer takes 5 people, aged 38 – 58, all of whom had been given a terminal diagnosis, and brings them together for regular weekends at a Cotswold manor house as they contemplate the last months of their lives. They talk, laugh and cry as they share their experiences of living and dying. Taking great courage to talk so frankly, all found it had a transforming effect on what was for some their final weeks.

They all have different viewpoints and ways of dealing with their prognosis, but terminal illness unifies them and as such they can discuss and debate with real affinity to each other’s situations. Loved ones and families also feature and join in some of the discussions as the series examines the reality of living with terminal illness and the impact on those left behind.

Is it possible to have a good death? How does terminal illness affect loved ones? How do you explain terminal illness to a child? How do you prepare for death? These are just some of the conversations and themes explored in the series. Death is inevitable yet it is not a subject we find easy to talk about - most of us prefer to push it to the margins of our consciousness. Taboos around death can leave us poorly prepared for the loss of those we love and even for our own mortality.

Filmed over 2 years this series is thought provoking, challenging and poignant and tackles this difficult issue openly and honestly.

Guiding the conversations and offering their own suggestions and expertise are Palliative Care Psychotherapist, Ann Munro and Palliative Care Nurse, Nigel Dodds.

The five contributors are:

Andy – 43 from Oxford.
Andy has an incurable lung disease caused by aggressive treatment for Leukemia. He was diagnosed with Leukemia in February 2010 after several months of tests. He is constantly out of breath, regularly in hospital owing to infections and tires very easily and his health is deteriorating.

Andy is married to Annette and he has 3 teenage boys from a previous relationship and a 4 year old daughter with Annette.

Ben – 57 from Folkestone.
Ben died of lung cancer on 23/10/2013.

Ben was diagnosed in August 2011. Before he became too ill to work Ben was a steward for P&O Ferries – a job he loved. He used to smoke 50 cigarettes a day but cut down on diagnosis. Ben was single.

Jayne – 58 from Cardiff.
Jayne died of breast cancer on 15/ 07/ 2013.

Jayne was diagnosed originally with breast cancer in 2009. It returned in her spine, ribs and skull.

Jayne left her husband of 25 years in 2012. She has an 18 year old daughter with severe learning difficulties and a son who she gave up for adoption when she was 17 who she attempts to trace during the series.

Junior – 48 from London.
Junior died from prostate cancer on 11/ 12/ 12.

Junior was diagnosed in January 2012 when the cancer had spread to his bones and lungs. A DJ, Junior has 11 children from 10 different mothers. He married his current partner Sonja in hospital on the day he died.

Lou – 38 from Kent.
Lou has Motor Neuron Disease. She was diagnosed on Christmas Eve 2010 after a year of testing. She has mobility issues and often lacks energy but she has out-lived her original diagnosis of 2.5 years.

Lou is married and has four children – two from previous relationships and two with her husband John.

Episode 1 - Wednesday 4 June, 10pm, Channel 4

Death is inevitable yet it is not a subject we find easy to talk about. Taboos around death can leave us poorly prepared for the loss of those we love and even for our own mortality. In this series, 5 terminally ill people are brought together for regular weekends at a Cotswold manor house to talk frankly about their experience of living and dying as they contemplate the last months of their lives. This thought provoking and poignant series tackles this difficult issue openly and honestly.

Is it possible to have a good death? How does terminal illness affect loved ones? How do you explain terminal illness to a child? How do you prepare for death? These are just some of the conversations and themes explored in the series.

In this first episode Jayne - who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 - helps Junior - a DJ and father of 11, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012 - come to terms with his prognosis and the group has a frank discussion about euthanasia.

Past TX Information

MY LAST SUMMER 4/4
04 Jul 2014, 01:50
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