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Right to die

A 29-year-old woman explains why she's planned her death - next month

“I don’t want to die. But I am dying. And I want to die on my own terms.”

Compassion & Choices Compassion & Choices

BRITTANY MAYNARD HAS scheduled her own death – 1 November, two days after her husband’s birthday, in her bedroom, surrounded by her family, with legally-prescribed medication.

The 29-year-old has glioblastoma multiforme – an aggressive and terminal form of brain cancer – a diagnosis she got in April, after first being given a few years to live on New Year’s Day.

After her prognosis was upgraded to Level 4, Maynard was told she would die within six months, and would first suffer “verbal, cognitive and motor loss of virtually any kind.”

The tragedy of her circumstances and decision have captured attention and sympathy from around the world since Monday, when she launched The Brittany Maynard Fund, a campaign to expand the right to “die with dignity.”

maynardhusband Brittany Maynard with her husband Dan Diaz Compassion & Choices Compassion & Choices

“I do not want to die,” she wrote yesterday in an extraordinary op-ed for CNN.

“But I am dying. And I want to die on my own terms.”

In a moving campaign video for the right-to-die group Compassion & Choices, Maynard reveals she has actually had the medication that will end her life, for weeks, but that she wanted to wait until after 30 October to take it.

I will die upstairs in my bedroom with my husband, mother, stepfather and best friend by my side, and pass peacefully.
I can’t imagine trying to rob anyone else of that choice.

maynardbed The bed where Brittany Maynard has planned to die, surrounded by loved ones, on 1 November Compassion & Choices Compassion & Choices

The impetus for the campaign, however, comes from the fact that only five US states allow assisted suicide.

Maynard and her family moved from San Francisco, California to Portland, Oregon – specifically so that she could qualify under that state’s right-to-die legislation, which has been in place since 1997.

“The amount of sacrifice and change my family had to go through in order to get me legal access to death with dignity…was profound,” she told People magazine in an interview on Monday.

Later this month, Maynard will record videotape testimony to be shown to members of the California state legislature, as part of the campaign to legalise assisted suicide.

maynardwedding Maynard and her husband Dan, on their wedding day. Compassion & Choices Compassion & Choices

She’s running out of time, however, as she told People magazine.

I’m getting sicker, dealing with more pain and seizures and difficulties…
I was in the hospital two weeks ago after two seizures. Immediately after, I lost my ability to speak for a few hours.
So it’s scary, very frightening.

With her death approaching and her condition worsening, Maynard’s plans have become very, very simple:

I hope to enjoy however many days I have left on this beautiful earth, and spend as much of it outside as I can, surrounded by those I love.I hope to pass in peace.

For the rest of us, she has this advice:

Make sure you’re not missing out. Seize the day. What’s important to you, what do you care about, what matters – pursue that, forget the rest.

CompassionChoices / YouTube

Read: MS sufferer and right-to-die campaigner – ‘If I was an animal…I’d be put to sleep’>

TDs will be asked to vote on new right-to-die laws before Christmas>

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