Cancer-stricken young American woman upholds ‘right-to-die;’ kills self

By , on November 4, 2014


Brittany Maynard with her puppy, Charlie.  (Facebook photo)
Brittany Maynard with her puppy, Charlie. (Facebook photo)

A terminally-ill American woman in her late twenties has killed herself, making good on promises she made to do so on the premise of the right-to-die.

Twenty-nine-year-old Brittany Maynard, who was suffering from a terminal form of brain cancer, sent shock waves across the world when her right-to-die video manifesto went viral.

In the video, Maynard promised to kill herself, as her right of escaping the increasing suffering brought on by her illness. She set the date for November 1.

In her latest message which was widely circulated via avenues of social media, Maynard wrote: “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.”

“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!,” she said.

Sean Crowley, spokesman for a right-to-die activist group, Compassion & Choices, reported that Maynard passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family, in her home on November 1.

The group’s president, Barbara Coombs Lee, said: “Brittany has died, but her love of life and nature, her passion and spirit endure.”

“In Brittany’s memory, do what matters most. And tell those you love how much they matter to you. We will work to carry on her legacy of bringing end-of-life choice to all Americans,” Combs added.

After suffering from severe headaches, Maynard was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer in January. Doctors gave her 6 months to live. She was also advised by the medical experts that her death would be painful, due to the nature of the disease.

At the time of the diagnosis, Maynard and her husband, Dan Diaz, had been trying to have their first child, but gave up their efforts on account of her sickness. Maynard and Diaz had just been married when she started experiencing the terrible headaches.

They chose to move from their California home to the state of Oregon, which is one of a few US states with a “right-to-die” law.

Under this law, Maynard could seek a doctor’s help to prescribe a cocktail of potentially deadly drugs that she would self-administer to end her own life.

On the 30th of October, Maynard posted a video in which she said that she might delay her self-appointed date with death, because she still “enjoyed life.” She added, though, that the postponement, if carried out,  would brief.  Death would be imminent, she said, as she felt herself growing worse with each passing day.

Meanwhile, Maynard spent the last months of her life completing items on a “bucket list” of things to do – such as trekking the Grand Canyon, which she fulfilled some days ago –  before she died.

The young woman’s story made headlines the world over, and even landed her on the cover of last week’s People magazine in the United States.

Bittany and her husband, Dan Diaz, trekking the Grand Canyon; one of the items on her "bucket list."  She captioned this Facebook photo, dated October 22, "Grand Canyon, Oct 2014 Beautiful day with my loving family in one of the world's most fabulous natural wonders. Many moments that simply took my breath away on a gorgeous helicopter ride."
Bittany and her husband, Dan Diaz, trekking the Grand Canyon; one of the items on her “bucket list.” She captioned this Facebook photo, dated October 22, “Grand Canyon, Oct 2014. Beautiful day with my loving family in one of the world’s most fabulous natural wonders. Many moments that simply took my breath away on a gorgeous helicopter ride.”