A 27-year-old PhD candidate has been documenting her battle with the rare disease Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy through a series of brutally honest photographs on her Instagram account, in order to argue that euthanasia should be legalised.
Holly Warland, from Australia, was diagnosed with LGMD when she was 11 years old, but the symptoms only became debilitating when she was studying for her PhD in neuroscience, and she began to notice her physical strength diminishing.
LGMD is a chronic illness that results in the gradual diminishment of all the muscles in the body from the chin down, leaving suffers bed bound and reliant on care.
In 2016, Holly was forced to pull out of her PhD and quit the academic teaching job at a university that she loved dearly. After suffering from extreme shaking, nausea, racing pulse, sore muscles, and hyperventilation, Holly became frustrated with the underrepresentation of the reality of disability on Instagram and in the media, as well as becoming an active campaigner for the right to die, or euthanasia.
As my condition worsened, I found a real lack of true representation of severe disability.
It seemed like every social media personality with a disability fell into the category of ‘inspirational’.
Worse still, the fitness blogs posting inspo-porn memes of amputees with captions like ‘GET AFTER IT!’ and ‘WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE?’ Gross.
So, assisted by her partner Luke, who was also her full-time carer, they began taking photographs that documented the reality of her suffering, and posting them onto her Instagram account.
In early 2018, she recorded a video in which she set out her arguments for allowing people to choose voluntary euthanasia if they wanted it. In the powerful film shared on Endpoint Films' Vimeo account, she says:
This isn't a pity party, it's my real life.
It's not inspirational or touching, it's painful and monotonous.
At 26 I'm already bed bound. I'm a realist - I know that things will only go downhill from here.
And that's why I want the choice to use legal, voluntary, assisted dying.
I want the choice to stop fighting.
And not only do I want the choice to end my life, I want it to be a good death.
Here are some of the most powerful images from the account: