Assisted suicide, can you make the choice?

Mandy Stickles, Opinion Assistant Editor

A young woman made the choice to end her life on Nov. 1, after finding out she only has months to live.

Twenty-nine-year-old Brittany Maynard was diagnosed with the deadliest form of brain cancer, glioblastoma, earlier this year.

The doctors first told Maynard she had roughly 10 years to live, but within a few short months the tumor significantly grew and she was given only a few months.

After thoroughly going through all her options, Maynard decided to pick up her life in San Francisco Bay Area and move to Oregon, which is one of the five states in the U.S. that have death-with-dignity laws. Death-with-dignity is an option terminally ill patients can request to end their suffering and die in comfort and in control — with dignity.

Maynard will ingest lethal medication to end her life with her husband, mother, stepfather and best friend at her side.

“We all just realized that I am terminally ill and I’m dying and I would just prefer to die with less pain and less suffering,” Maynard said to ABC 6 Action News.

Maynard chose Nov. 1 because her husband’s birthday is in late October and she wants to celebrate one last birthday with him. Maynard stresses that her decision is not suicide and if there was another way to end her suffering she would.

Even though Maynard has constant pain and almost daily seizures, she wants to take the time to raise awareness of Death-with-Dignity Act and encourage other states to pass it.

She wants people that are terminally ill and mentally competent to be able to have the choice of death-with-dignity and not be forced to relocate their whole life and family like she had.

No state should deny people the choice to end their life peacefully when dealing with a terminal illness. If a person is in dire pain and suffers every day, why should they not get the choice on how they spend the rest of their days?

If death is inevitable and the patient no longer wants to suffer, it should be their choice if they want to end their suffering on their own terms.

Maynard loves to travel and is now spending her remaining time with family and friends and making trips to Alaska, Yellowstone National Park and hopes to make it to the Grand Canyon.

Maynard has recently launched the Brittany Maynard Fund in partnership with Compassion & Choice. Compassion & Choices is the oldest and largest organization that works to improve care and expand choices at the end of life and also operates many programs and services. End of Life Consultation (EOLC) program provides free, confidential support with trained experts who help the terminally ill with their quality of life they have left.

The program also helps the patients achieve a peaceful death or helps them plan ahead for what is to come.

Maynard has always been an introverted person and even though the attention has been overwhelming during this time she could not turn the opportunity down to be an advocate for such a significant issue, it was just too important to ignore.

“I think the idea of education and advocacy for this cause is just something that when I was asked, I just couldn’t turn my back on,” Maynard said to abc 6 Action News.

Maynard is comfortable with her decision and is satisfied with how she is living out the remainder of her life.

The results for a terminally ill patient are inevitable; if a patient wants to end their suffering earlier they should have the choice to do so.