radically accepting finitude
Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman battling stage 4 brain cancer, plans to die on November 1 via assisted suicide and has launched a nationwide campaign for death with dignity laws, she revealed in an Oct. 6 YouTube video (see above).
Brittany Maynard, woman dying of brain cancer, launches campaign for death with dignity, assisted suicideBrittany Maynard plans to die with dignity on Nov. 1.
Maynard is sad she had to leave her home state of California in order to access death with dignity laws in Oregon. Brittany said she’s going public with her choice because she wants to expand assisted suicide laws around the nation.
“I can’t even tell you the amount of relief it provides me to know that I don’t have to die the way that it’s been described to me, that my brain tumor would take me on its own,” said Maynard. “I hope to pass in peace.”
Brittany, an athlete and adventurer who has run half-marathons and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, was given six months to live in April after being diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma (a malignant brain tumor) in January 2014. Maynard plans to end her life Nov. 1 with medication from her doctor, but she insists she’s not suicidal and does not want to die.
“There is not a cell in my body that is suicidal or that wants to die,” she told People. “I want to live. I wish there was a cure for my disease but there’s not. My glioblastoma is going to kill me, and that’s out of my control. I’ve discussed with many experts how I would die, and it’s a terrible, terrible way to die. Being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying.”
Brittany, an only child, said she has discussed the decision with her parents and her husband, Dan Diaz, 42. They support her choice to die peacefully and not suffering in the last days of her life.
“My entire family has gone through a cycle of devastation,” she said. “I’m an only child. For my mother, it’s really difficult, and for my husband as well, but they’ve all supported me because they’ve stood in hospital rooms and heard what would happen to me.”
Sadly, Maynard had wanted to start a family when she was diagnosed with advanced brain cancer in January 2014. After undergoing surgery in April, she learned her tumor had gotten bigger and was given at most six months to live. That’s when she decided she wanted to end her life on her own terms.
Because assisted suicide is against the law in her native California, Brittany’s entire family has moved to Oregon, where the state’s Death with Dignity Act has been in place since 1997. Since then, 752 people have died on their own terms. Maynard is currently trying to get assisted suicide laws enacted in California.
Maynard is choosing to die on Nov. 1 so she can celebrate her husband’s birthday on Oct. 30 before she goes. She’s at peace with her decision and feels it’s the best for herself and her loved ones.
“I really wanted to celebrate my husband’s birthday, which is October 30,” she says. “I’m getting sicker, dealing with more pain and seizures and difficulties. I’m dying, but I’m choosing to suffer less.”
Brittany plans to die in the bedroom she shares with her husband. Her mother, stepfather, husband and best friend will be by her side when she departs this world.