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Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

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Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

Old 11-02-14, 08:18 PM
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Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life


BY NICOLE WEISENSEE EGAN

Brittany Maynard, who became the public face of the controversial right-to-die movement over the last few weeks, ended her own life Saturday at her home in Portland, Oregon. She was 29.

"Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me … but would have taken so much more," she wrote on Facebook. "The world is a beautiful place, travel has been my greatest teacher, my close friends and folks are the greatest givers. I even have a ring of support around my bed as I type … Goodbye world. Spread good energy. Pay it forward!"

Doctors told Maynard she had six months to live last spring after she was diagnosed with a likely stage 4 glioblastoma. She made headlines around the world when she announced she intended to die – under Oregon's Death with Dignity Act – by taking a fatal dose of barbiturates, prescribed to her by a doctor, when her suffering became too great.

"My glioblastoma is going to kill me and that's out of my control," she told PEOPLE last month. "I've discussed with many experts how I would die from it and it's a terrible, terrible way to die. So being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying."

On Oct. 6, she launched an online video campaign with Compassion & Choices, an end-of-life choice advocacy organization, to fight for expanding death with dignity laws nationwide.

"For people to argue against this choice for sick people really seems evil to me," she told PEOPLE. "They try to mix it up with suicide and that's really unfair, because there's not a single part of me that wants to die. But I am dying."

Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life| Cancer, Health, Medicine, Real People Stories
Brittany Maynard
NIGEL PARRY


A Heartbreaking Choice

Arriving at her decision was a gradual one, she said.

"It's not a decision you make one day and you snap your fingers," she told PEOPLE.

She said she began thinking about death with dignity in January – when she was first diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor – after coming across an article on it while researching possible treatments.

"Really, from the beginning, all the doctors said when you have a glioma you're going to die," she told PEOPLE. "You can just Google it. People don't survive this disease. Not yet."

Doctors removed as much of the tumor as they could, but it came back larger than ever two months later, she said.

After researching her options, she decided not to try chemotherapy or radiation.

"They didn't seem to make sense for me," she said, because of "the level of side effects I would suffer and it wouldn't save my life. I've been told pretty much no matter what, I'm going to die – and treatments would extend my life but affect the quality pretty negatively."

In June, she moved to Oregon with her husband, Dan Diaz, 43, her mother, Debbie Ziegler, 56 , and her stepfather, Gary Holmes, 72, so she could have access to the state's Death with Dignity Act, which allows physicians to prescribe life-ending medication to certain terminally ill patients.

Maynard originally told PEOPLE she'd chosen Nov. 1 to end her life, but on Thursday she released a new video saying she might not do it that day.

"I still smile and laugh with my family and friends enough that it doesn't seem like the right time now," she said in the video recorded Oct. 13 and 14, "but it will come because I feel myself getting sicker; it's happening each week."

Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life| Cancer, Health, Medicine, Real People Stories
Brittany Maynard and Dan Diaz at Olympic National Park in Washington state in August
COURTESY BRITTANY MAYNARD


Her Final Months

Maynard spent the last months of her life making the most of the time she had left. She traveled to Alaska, British Colombia and Yellowstone National Park with her loved ones and explored more local attractions like Olympic National Park in Washington.

On Oct. 21, she and her family took a helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon, a place she'd been longing to see before she died.

"It was breathtakingly beautiful," she said in a statement.

The following morning, though, she had her "worst seizure" so far, she said: "The seizure was a harsh reminder that my symptoms continue to worsen as the tumor runs its course."

Maynard said she was deeply touched by the "outpouring of support" she got after going public with her diagnosis and her decision.

"I want to thank people for that, for the words of kindness, for the time they've taken in personal ways," she told PEOPLE.

"And then beyond that, to encourage people to make a difference," she said. "If they can relate to my story, if they agree with this issue on a philosophical level, to get out there and do what we need to do to make a change in this country."

Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life| Cancer, Health, Medicine, Real People Stories
Brittany Maynard and her mother, Debbie Ziegler, in Alaska in May
COURTESY BRITTANY MAYNARD


Maynard also talked to PEOPLE about her legacy.

"For me what matters most is the way I'm remembered by my family and my husband as a good woman who did my best to be a good wife and a good daughter," she said.

"Beyond that, getting involved with this campaign, I hope to be making a difference here," she said. "If I'm leaving a legacy, it's to change this health-care policy or be a part of this change of this health care policy so it becomes available to all Americans. That would be an enormous contribution to make, even if I'm just a piece of it."

Before she died, Maynard asked her husband and her mother if they would carry on the work she started to get death with dignity passed in every state.

"I want to work on the cause," Ziegler told PEOPLE last month. "I have so much admiration for people who are terminally ill and just fight and fight. They are so dignified and brave. This is a different choice, but it is also brave and dignified."

She also shared with them her hopes and dreams for their future. Upstairs in the home she shares with her family are neatly wrapped Christmas and birthday gifts for her loved ones for the next year.

"She made it clear she wants me to live a good life," Ziegler says.

In her second video, Maynard, who is an only child, said she hoped her mother does not "break down" or "suffer from any kind of depression."

And for Diaz, "I hope he moves on and becomes a father," she said. "There's no part of me that wants him to live out the rest of his life just missing his wife."
http://www.people.com/people/mobile/...book_peoplemag
-I hope one Day all states will have this option. If you knew your quality of life will be shit and the pain so immense you should have that option available.
Old 11-02-14, 08:21 PM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

RIP Brittany.
Old 11-02-14, 08:48 PM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

RIP Brittany

Last edited by auto; 11-02-14 at 09:07 PM.
Old 11-02-14, 09:24 PM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

Hope more states will allow terminally ill people to die with dignity.
Old 11-02-14, 09:27 PM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

I think people should have this choice. What's the point of suffering for days or weeks on end when there is no hope of recovery? We end the lives of pets to avoid unnecessary suffering, but we won't allow mentally competent people to choose to end their own lives to avoid unnecessary suffering.
Old 11-02-14, 09:36 PM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

Christians say according to the Bible we were given Free Will by God. By taking away our right to choose how our life will end is basically taking away our Free Will? RIP Brittany
Old 11-02-14, 09:37 PM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

RIP Brittany
Old 11-02-14, 09:38 PM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

Very sad...
Old 11-02-14, 09:39 PM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

Support for a humane right to die.
Old 11-02-14, 09:50 PM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

Originally Posted by Ghostbuster View Post
I think people should have this choice. What's the point of suffering for days or weeks on end when there is no hope of recovery? We end the lives of pets to avoid unnecessary suffering, but we won't allow mentally competent people to choose to end their own lives to avoid unnecessary suffering.
Not to mention ringing up mountains of hospital debt for the loved ones to deal with... and that's probably the gray area that lawmakers don't want to see happen. People choosing to die based solely on monetary reasons.
Old 11-02-14, 10:11 PM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

I am happy for her that she was able to die peacefully and painlessly.
Old 11-03-14, 08:10 AM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

Originally Posted by Ghostbuster View Post
I think people should have this choice. What's the point of suffering for days or weeks on end when there is no hope of recovery? We end the lives of pets to avoid unnecessary suffering, but we won't allow mentally competent people to choose to end their own lives to avoid unnecessary suffering.
That's because animals have no souls or knowledge of the lord Jesus Christ.
Old 11-03-14, 08:18 AM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

Good for her. Everyone should be allowed this.

Personally, I think everyone has the right to end their own life - whether they're sick or not.
Old 11-03-14, 08:32 AM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

Glad she had a choice and RIP.

I remember watching How to Die in Oregon a couple years back, both incredibly informative and totally heartbreaking documentary on this subject.
Old 11-03-14, 09:35 AM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

Originally Posted by Michael Corvin View Post
Not to mention ringing up mountains of hospital debt for the loved ones to deal with... and that's probably the gray area that lawmakers don't want to see happen. People choosing to die based solely on monetary reasons.
I hate to say it but I think this is one of the biggest reasons if not the reason. Unfortunately, it all boils down to money and the pockets that get lined with our money. We just had our second child and I was looking over the statement/bill from the hospital and there was a charge for 1,200 dollars for medication alone for a 3 day stay. My wife only took some pain pills and nothing else.

I have to say rest in peace to this young lady for making this tough decision. I hope her family finds peace.

There are some terrible people in this world and it is very apparent in the comments in this article.
http://www.people.com/article/britta...l-brain-cancer
Old 11-03-14, 09:52 AM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

Originally Posted by dsa_shea View Post
There are some terrible people in this world and it is very apparent in the comments in this article.
http://www.people.com/article/britta...l-brain-cancer
No kidding. It always amazes me people can get so worked up over something someone else is doing.
Old 11-03-14, 10:06 AM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

Originally Posted by dsa_shea View Post
There are some terrible people in this world and it is very apparent in the comments in this article.
http://www.people.com/article/britta...l-brain-cancer
Nothing like an internet comments section after a controversial article to bring out the inner ugliness of Americans.

Originally Posted by stingermck View Post
No kidding. It always amazes me people can get so worked up over something someone else is doing.
If it weren't for some of the laws in this country, we would be living in a society that would be just as backwards as some of the ones we criticize.
Old 11-03-14, 10:12 AM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

Very sad, but I believe that someone with a terminal illness should be able to end their life with dignity.
Old 11-03-14, 10:13 AM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

Originally Posted by Michael Corvin View Post
Not to mention ringing up mountains of hospital debt for the loved ones to deal with... and that's probably the gray area that lawmakers don't want to see happen.
I think the government wants people spending every last penny they have on health care when they go.
Old 11-03-14, 10:48 AM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

Yep, its sad to read the comments of folks (in the comment sections of these articles about Brittany) who never took care of someone with a terminal illness and watched them suffer. Also the ones saying its "God's will" and no one should commit suicide - altho it was their God who gave them the disease to begin with to suffer from!

My mom had ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and there is NO cure or any kind of treatment for it. I watched her suffer for 8 months with it as I cared for her - getting worse and worse as the weeks went on. No amount of praying by various family members helped her at all. My mom was Atheist and along with the rest of us.

She decided she was going to beat the disease before it beat her. In her last month, she decided to stop eating. I knew what she was up to - but I totally respected her decision. She had a big bottle of liquid morphine (which is for the pain with frozen up muscles that ALS causes) and we even offered to give her MORE than she needed - if that was what she wanted, since she was pretty much paralyzed and couldn't hold the bottle in her hand to her mouth - but she didn't want that on our heads. She wanted to do it HER way.

So she stopped eating. I'd offer her food every day, but she'd politely turn it down. I did get her to eat a heaping plate of Thanksgiving food during her "suicide fast" - but that was it for her, and by the day after Xmas of 2006 - she was gone.

I told my sister if that was me - just pour the morphine down my throat. I ain't in no way going to suffer as long as my Mom did.

So good for Brittany taking control of things and not wanting to suffer anymore. Her body, her life, her right to decide what SHE wanted. Just like in the case of my Mom.
Old 11-03-14, 10:56 AM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

While I am glad she is now at peace and her family is spared the months of suffering, I also hope she can become a pioneer and move this conversation to a better place so more people can end their lives with dignity.
Old 11-03-14, 10:57 AM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

Such a sad story to follow but I'm glad she got to go on her own terms. Everyone (provided they're in a proper mental state) should have that option.
Old 11-03-14, 11:14 AM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

I would like to comment on a number of the other topics brought up in this thread (religion, healthcare, etc.) but I think it would be disrespectful to do so at this time.

RIP Brittany. I support your decision. Of course we all have the "right" to make this decision, what is lacking is the legal ability for our loved ones and chosen healthcare professionals to be involved. Please listen to her message and spread it.
Old 11-03-14, 11:20 AM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

Sad, very sad.
RIP Brittany.
Old 11-03-14, 11:25 AM
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Re: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

It just disgusts me that people are calling her selfish. Really? Allowing your loved ones to sit by your side, say your goodbyes, and kiss you as you peacefully drift off to sleep is selfish? Knowing your last memory of your loved one will be loving and peaceful is not selfish. It does them a great service. Now on the other hand, having them see you in so much pain, hooked up to artificial means of support, listening to your death gurgle, and down to skin and bones, to me that would not be the memory I would want me loved ones to have of me as their last.

Comparing this to suicide is also unfair. In most cases, suicide comes as a surprise to loved ones. They usually are caught off guard without a note. So many unanswered questions.. That is not the case with Brittany's death. The family was involved in every decision. Also, cancer is what is killing Brittany. She would not survive this one. It is her decision to not wait "for God's miracle". If you are approaching this on the religious side..think of it this way. Cancer is the devil. If you go out the way cancer wants you too, then cancer wins.

RIP Brittany. I respect you and your decision to spare yourself and your family gut wrenching pain.

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