Brittany Maynard, 29, will die on Saturday by her own choice.
The young brain cancer patient has received a tragic prognosis from doctors, and so instead of allowing the disease to ravage her body and instead of putting her family through a prolonged decline, she will swallow lethal drugs at her home in Oregon on November 1.
It’s not something she wants to do, but it’s something she believes in — “death with dignity” — and she has spent her final few months speaking up for the cause.
But now that the last week is here, she is ready to focus on her bucket list. So what has Brittany Maynard been doing?
She recently had the opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon surrounded by her husband Dan Diaz, her stepfather Gary Holmes and mother Debbie Ziegler. The four took a pic that was tweeted by People magazine on Friday.
— People magazine (@peoplemag) October 24, 2014
Unfortunately, the trip was not without problems. She released the following statement reported by Today.
“Thanks to the kindness of Americans around the country who came forward to make my ‘bucket list’ dream come true. The Canyon was breathtakingly beautiful, and I was able to enjoy my time with the two things I love most: my family and nature.”
“Sadly, it is impossible to forget my cancer … and unfortunately the next morning I had my worst seizure thus far… My speech was paralyzed for quite a while after I regained consciousness. The seizure was a harsh reminder that my symptoms continue to worsen as the tumor runs its course. However, I find meaning and take pride that the Compassion & Choices movement is accelerating rapidly.”
Understandably, the choice of Brittany Maynard is a hard one to talk about, but that hasn’t stopped people from both voicing their support and pleading with her to give it more time.
Philip Johnson, a 30-year-old Catholic seminarian who is also suffering with brain cancer, is the most notable opposition. In a letter entitled “Dear Brittany, Our Lives Are Worth Living Even With Brain Cancer,” he makes the following case via Time.
“I have lived through six years of constant turmoil, seizures, and headaches. I often changed hospitals and doctors every few months, seeking some morsel of hope for survival. Like Brittany, I do not want to die, nor do I want to suffer the likely outcome of this disease. I do not think anyone wants to die in this way. Brittany states relief that she does not have to die the way that it has been explained that she would – she can die “on her own terms.” I have also consulted with my doctors to learn how my illness is likely to proceed. I will gradually lose control of my bodily functions at a young age, from paralysis to incontinence, and it is very likely that my mental faculties will also disappear and lead to confusion and hallucinations before my death. This terrifies me, but it does not make me any less of a person. My life means something to me, to God, and to my family and friends, and barring a miraculous recovery, it will continue to mean something long after I am paralyzed in a hospice bed. My family and friends love me for who I am, not just for the personality traits that will slowly slip away if this tumor progresses and takes my life… Suffering is not worthless, and our lives are not our own to take. As humans we are relational – we relate to one another and the actions of one person affects others. We do not seek pain for its own sake, but our suffering can have great meaning if we try to join it to the Passion of Christ and offer it for the conversion or intentions of others. While often terrifying, the suffering and pain that we will all experience in our lives can be turned into something positive. This has been a very difficult task for me, but it is possible to achieve.”
What do you think, readers? Is Brittany Maynard making the right decision? Do you think death with dignity should be legal across the country?