Death is a sensitive topic, and when combined with terminal illness and a rising awareness for what many have called “death with dignity” laws, it’s becoming even more sensitive as people fight for the way to die on their own terms. While this may have been called “suicide” in the past, Brittany Maynard is fighting for the decisions to take her own life as a terminal cancer patient. Death is certain for Maynard, she simply wants to choose when it happens.
Before she goes, however, she’s found a way to make every day exciting and worthwhile while still raising awareness for her unique and unfortunate situation. She’s telling the world about her choice in a video she hopes will go viral as she explores some of the greatest landscapes in America. She’s traveled as far as Alaska with her best friend and her mother, and recently she made the journey to Yellowstone with her husband, Dan Diaz. The last item on her bucket list? To tour Grand Canyon National Park. It’s not your typical Grand Canyon vacation, but the Grand Canyon has some of the most impressive sights in the world, and it shouldn’t be missed.
On January 1st of this year, while vacationing with her husband, Maynard was told that she had glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer that can be fatal in its advanced stages. In April, she was told that she only had about six months to live. Not too long ago, she moved from California to Oregon with her husband to qualify for the state’s Death with Dignity Act, and on November 1st, she’ll administer a lethal injection, provided by a doctor and administered by herself, and die peacefully in the bedroom she shares with her husband.
Since 1997, when the Death with Dignity Act took effect, 752 terminally-ill patients have died under the act, but Oregon’s not the only state that allows this. Montana, New Mexico, Washington, and Vermont all have similar programs that help terminally-ill patients make end-of-life decisions.
“And that’s all I can do is set little goals like that. All those things make every day worthwhile,” she said.
During her remaining time, Maynard is devote to raising awareness for death-with-dignity laws with the Brittany Maynard fund and by volunteering with Compassion & Choices.
What’s on your bucket list? How do you feel about death-with-dignity laws? Feel free to share your experiences and views in the comments below.