​Brittany Maynard Brain Tumor: Choosing Her Own Right To Die From Cancer

Author: Jennifer HongBy:
Staff Reporter
Oct. 9, 2014

Brittany Maynard’s brain tumor has worsened and her husband Dan Diaz says the best option is for her to die on her own terms after moving to Oregon, one of only five states that have death-with-dignity laws.

Maynard was diagnosed with Stage 4 glioblastoma earlier this year and given six months to live. The cancer patient has been lobbying lawmakers in other states to pass legislation that would allow people to choose how they want to die. She plans to end her life in her own bed on November 1, day after her husband’s birthday, by swallowing a pill.

In a nutshell, she does not have a death wish, but she wants to be the one calling the shots when it comes to the time and manner of her passing - not her brain tumor.

At age 29, Maynard was filled with bright hopes for the future: starting a family with her newlywed husband, traveling and going on mountain-climbing adventures with her friends.

But on January 1, 2014, doctors determined that Brittany Maynard’s brain tumor was the cause of her persistent headaches. At first, she was given 5-10 years to live, but then in April Maynard was diagnosed with Stage 4 glioblastoma, which will likely take her life within six months.

Maynard, a vivacious young woman described by her mother as precocious and larger than life, decided then and there to take her life, or whatever was left of it, into her own hands.

On Monday, Brittany Maynard launched an online video campaign for Compassion & Choices, an end-of-life non-profit organization, to promote death-with-dignity laws, which currently exist in only five states.

In order to have the option of ending her life on her own terms, Maynard, her husband, Dan Diaz, and her parents moved from San Francisco to Portland, Oregon, which has a death-with-dignity legislation on the books.

On November 1, Brittany Maynard’s brain tumor will cause her to take a pill given to her by her doctors and painlessly fade away surrounded by her loved ones in her and Dan’s bedroom, with her favorite music playing in the background. But Maynard wants everyone to know: what she is planning to do is not a suicide.

“There is not a cell in my body that is suicidal or that wants to die … I want to live. I wish there was a cure for my disease but there’s not … I can’t even tell you the amount of relief that it provided me to know that I don’t have to die the way it’s been described to me that my brain tumor would take me on its own.”

Since Oregon lawmakers passed the Death with Dignity Act in 1997, more than 1,170 people have obtained prescriptions under the law, and fewer than half of them used them to end their lives.

Brittany Maynard’s brain tumor is growing in size and increasing pain and causing seizures. However, Maynard has remained active, traveling around the country with her family and best friend to try and visit as many places on her bucket list as possible before November 1. So far, she has journeyed to Alaska and took a trip to Yellowstone National Park with husband Dan, but she still hopes to see the Grand Canyon before the end.

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