LOSING MY BOY HAS RUINED ME
Barcelona terror victim tells of her devastation
WHEN Sydney mum Jumarie Cadman arrived home after her world was torn apart in the devastation of the Barcelona terror attacks, she couldn’t even get through the front door.
Three times, Ms Cadman tried to get into their Lalor Park home, but the absence of her seven-year-old son Julian, who was killed in the barbaric August assault, was too stark.
“My husband had to take me back to hospital twice and I finally managed it the third time, going in through the back garden. The hardest was going into Julian’s playroom, his bedroom; I managed with the help of the hospital’s social worker,” she said.
Ms Cadman, 43, has opened up about the August 17 attack for the first time exclusively to The Daily Telegraph, telling of her anguish over the loss of her only child in an assault that left her with devastating injuries.
“I don’t sleep, I miss him every hour. I loved being a mum, but it’s all gone,” Ms Cadman said.
She and her son were in Barcelona to attend her niece’s wedding for which Julian was to be page boy, while Julian’s dad Andrew Cadman stayed at home.
The pair were on Las Ramblas when Moroccan-born Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22, smashed into the crowds in a van, a cowardly act Islamic State was quick to claim its own. He killed 13 people and injured 130 more before fleeing, shot dead by authorities five days later.
“Summer is com- ing but I feel there’s nothing to celebrate and I still have the shoes and shirt I bought him in Spain for the wedding. Julian was a blessing, who brought so much joy. I just want Julian back, I don’t know why I survived and he didn’t,” the wheelchair-bound Ms Cadman said through her tears.
“We had such a lovely day and I had bought him a toy torch because he had been such a good boy. When we came out of the shop he was snatched from me. I just felt his hand go.”
Ms Cadman’s cabinet-maker husband Andrew, 42, said: “You can’t rebuild or repair the damage done — we’re still trying to make sense of (it).”
Ms Cadman had extensive surgery to fix her shattered legs and pelvis in Barcelona, returning to Sydney in September and transferring to Westmead. But she will walk again. Julian was laid to rest at Parramatta’s St Patrick’s Cathedral on November 4.
“I can’t thank the hospital staff in Spain enough and Westmead; my social worker. It’s been a short but long journey. I want people to know Julian and I are home,” Ms Cadman said.
Very soon in NSW, parliamentarians will be voting whether euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide should be legalised in our state.
As a former deputy prime minister and a citizen of NSW, I have real fears that this will further disadvantage our rural and remote population; and we are already doing it hard.
Passing this bill will be in direct conflict with problems we face in the bush and will undermine the agendas experienced by people in rural and remote communities, who are already vulnerable to unequal access to many of the social, mental health, aged and palliative care services available to those in the city or the wealthy.
Those who want the Bill say it is about choice, but there can be no real choice if we are not given access to the best possible provision of care beforehand, or if we are left with ongoing, unaddressed agendas that create suffering in the bush.
Advocates of euthanasia and physician-assisted dying repeatedly present us with difficult scenarios where individuals request assisted suicide in order to end their lives.
Of course we sympathise as none of us want to see people suffering or in pain.
But however well intentioned, compassionate actions should first have us addressing the causes of that suffering, and legalising government-sponsored suicide will not do this.
All people in NSW should have at least had equitable access to the highest quality end-of-life care available first.
Regional and remote areas of NSW have higher rates of poor health and suicide, including amongst the young and especially the indigenous. What choice will the Bill give these individuals if in the end there is no choice available for their care? Is this bill going to really end suffering as its advocates claim, or will it just give the wrong message to our young and at risk that it is OK to commit suicide or think about suicide, rather than seek the help they should have a real right to as citizens of NSW? Access to good quality palliative care is proven to be the most reliable way of ensuring high-quality care at the end of a person’s life.
Figures stated about pain by the advocates of euthanasia and assisted suicide are a gross exaggeration.
We know less than 1 per cent of people given best practice palliative care continue to experience pain.
Even then, they can access second and third line treatments to allow them medicines and sedation not to experience symptoms as they are dying.
Those who want this bill would rather have many experience the uncertainty of taking untested drugs, without optimum medical scrutiny, and which may not necessarily ensure a quick, pain-fee or supported death.
A recent report by the NSW Auditor-General highlighted that gaps are significant in access to palliative care, especially in regional and rural NSW.
Without access to these services, it is more likely people will feel pressured to ask for assisted suicide. The tragic and premature losses of many we already experience in the bush will only be increased.
The Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health in NSW shows the rate of suicide outside of the larger cities is higher than for people who live in metropolitan areas.
This rate is higher still in all rural areas from 2011 to 2015. The figures for ill health, premature death and suicide are even worse in our indigenous population.
Our people experience unique problems compared to city-dwellers that increase our risk for suicide.
Our livelihood is dependent on things often outside of our control, such as the weather and factors in the market place.
Whilst the issues of mental health problems are similar, our people are less likely to get help or access to effective treatment.
Less mental health services lead to delayed diagnosis and treatment or management of mental health conditions.
If the state legalises assisted suicide, the message being sent to the vulnerable is that death is a legitimate way to cope with suffering in life.
More than eight people per day in Australia take their own lives through suicide. Do we really want to encourage this trend?
Who is going to take the lead in improving the healthcare for our people in rural and remote NSW?
Why are we spending time and money considering a law to legalise government-sanctioned suicide and euthanasia when there is so much more we need to do to improve the quality of life of our people?
And are we really providing people in rural and remote NSW with choice, or pushing them further into a situation where there is none?
Parliamentarians are fooling themselves if they think passing this bill will ease our suffering.
They should reject these bills and focus on improving medical services, mental health and end-of-life care for all citizens in NSW.
The message being sent to the vulnerable is that death is a legitimate way to cope with suffering in life
Julian Cadman, who was killed in the August Barcelona terror attacks. Our August 19 front page in the wake of the awful attack.