Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman with terminal brain cancer, has exercised her right to die and ended her own life surrounded by her family at her home in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday. She had chosen to die before she lost her ability to function and had previously thanked Americans who helped her complete her bucket list, which featured a visit to the Grand Canyon last week. People.com reported that Brittany wrote on Facebook:
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!
Sean Crowley, a spokesman for Compassion & Choices, wrote in a statement on Sunday that Brittany died “as she intended — peacefully in her bedroom, in the arms of her loved ones.” He added that she “suffered increasingly frequent and longer seizures, severe head and neck pain, and stroke-like symptoms. As symptoms grew more severe she chose to abbreviate the dying process by taking the aid-in-dying medication she had received months ago.”
Maynard had been diagnosed with stage IV glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive form of terminal brain cancer, and in April doctors had given her just six months to live. She then announced she intended to die under Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, making headlines around the world. (Scroll down for the videos.)
1. ‘Today I chose to die with dignity’: According to friends and family of Brittany Maynard, she passed away in her Portland, Oregon, home after her condition worsened. She was surrounded by family and friends.
2. Goodbye: The 29-year-old mother wrote on Facebook: ‘Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love.
3. Brittany Maynard is pictured with her husband Dan at the Grand Canyon — a trip she had hoped to take before her death.
In a video produced by end-of-life choice advocacy group Compassion & Choices, Brittany acknowledged that some people have been skeptical about her story. She said:
When people criticize me for not waiting longer, or, you know, whatever they’ve decided is best for me, it hurts, because really, I risk it every day, every day that I wake up.
I think sometimes people look at me and they think. ‘Well you don’t look as sick as you say you are,’ which hurts to hear, because when I’m having a seizure and I can’t speak afterwards, I certainly feel as sick as I am.
Brittany received her lethal medication several months ago and last week in a video posted on her website she said that she was considering delaying her plan:
I still feel good enough and I still have enough joy and I still laugh and smile with my family and friends enough that it doesn’t seem like the right time right now. But it will come, because I feel myself getting sicker.
That video went viral and has attracted more than nine million views on YouTube. Yet, after her Grand Canyon visit, Brittany suffered her “worst seizure thus far”, which left her temporarily paralyzed and tired for the rest of the day and the decision was made.
4. Maynard, second right, and her husband were joined by her mother and stepfather.
5. Maynard, who is an only child, is pictured with her mother, Deborah Ziegler, on the trip.
6. The obituary said that when Brittany was told she ‘didn’t even have weeks on her feet’ she was found climbing 10-mile trails along the ice fields of Alaska months later.
7. She is survived by her faithful, practical and kind husband, Daniel Diaz (right), her loving, selfless mother, Deborah Ziegler, and honorable stepfather, Gary Holmes.
8. ‘Suicide’: One Twitter user said that Brittany had made the wrong decision ending her life.
9. Another agreed, saying she could not support the decision saying she was committing ‘suicide’.
10. Chris Mergerson supported her decision, saying it was ‘her life and her decision’.
11. Another sad she was inspired by her story and strength and thanked Brittany for sharing it.
12. One social media user said she hoped Brittany was not suffering anymore.
13. She is pictured with her husband, Dan. He said he is devastated he cannot spend the rest of his life with her, but understands she wants quality of life over quantity.
14. The couple on their wedding day a year ago. Dan spoke of how sad he is that he will not get to spend the rest of his life with the woman he married.
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