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Terminally Ill Cancer Patient Takes Her Own Life Under Death With Dignity Act

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Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old who was terminally ill with brain cancer, died on Saturday through an assisted suicide, under Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act.

According to The Oregonian, Maynard was diagnosed with grade four glioblastoma, “a highly malignant and aggressive form of brain tumor,” and in April, she was told that she had only “six months to live.”

In June, Maynard moved from California to Portland, Oregon, where she qualified for Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, which allows doctors to prescribe lethal medication for the purpose of voluntary self-administration to terminally ill patients.

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Before ending her own life on Saturday, Brittany Maynard posted a final farewell 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.

In October, Maynard partnered with the end-of-life choice advocacy organization, Compassion & Choices, to shed light on the concept of “dying with dignity,” which is legal in five states.

Sean Crowley, a spokesman for Compassion & Choices, said that Maynard is “educating a whole new generation on this issue.”

“She is the most natural spokesperson I have ever heard in my life,” said Crowley. “The clarity of her message is amazing. She is getting people to consider this issue who haven’t thought of it before.”

In an interview with PEOPLE, Maynard confirmed that she had discussed all available options with doctors.

My glioblastoma is going to kill me and that’s out of my control,” said Maynard. “I’ve discussed with many experts how I would die from it and it’s a terrible, terrible way to die. So being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying.”

In response to criticism of her choice to end her own life, Maynard said, “For people to argue against this choice for sick people really seems evil to me. They try to mix it up with suicide and that’s really unfair, because there’s not a single part of me that wants to die. But I am dying.

NBC News reported that in addition to the inevitable “seizures and excruciating headaches,” Maynard would face during her final days, she planned many “bucket list” moments before escaping “the final stages of her cancer on Saturday, a day she had long cited, by drinking a lethal mixture of water, sedatives and respiratory-depressing drugs.”

However, while the exact cause of Maynard’s death has not been disclosed, a Facebook post from Compassion & Choices stated, “She passed peacefully in her bed surrounded by close family and loved ones.

According to the obituary posted on Brittany Maynard’s website:

Brittany chose to make a well thought out and informed choice to Die With Dignity in the face of such a terrible, painful, and incurable illnessShe moved to Oregon to pass away in a little yellow house she picked out in the beautiful city of Portland. Oregon is a place that strives to protect patient rights and autonomy; she wished that her home State of California had also been able to provide terminally ill patients with the same choice.”

 

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