Brittany Maynard's doctor on the right to die
Brittany Maynard's Husband Reflects on His Late Wife After the Right-to-Die Law She Fought For Finally Takes Effect
In October 2014, 29-year-old Brittany Maynard took her life after spending her last days advocating for death-with-dignity laws to be passed across the country.
When she was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, the deadliest form of brain cancer, there were only five states—Oregon, Montana, New Mexico, Vermont, and Washington—where death-with-dignity laws allowed terminally ill patients, like Brittany, to take medication to kill them painlessly. This meant that Brittany and her husband had to uproot their lives, moving from California to Portland, Oregon, so that she could die on her own terms.
"Faced with tragedy and dying, and knowing there's no cure for this type of cancer, I have to be realistic. I talked to a lot of doctors and read a lot about what this type of death would mean, and it's really terrible. I don't want to die, but I am dying, and I'm choosing to go in a way that's less traumatic and painful," she told redbookmag.com two years ago.
"Having this choice at the end of my life has become incredibly important. It has given me a sense of peace during a tumultuous time that otherwise would be dominated by fear, uncertainty, and pain."
Brittany and her husband, Dan Diaz fought tirelessly for that choice to be given to others in her home state of California.
"There's tons of Americans who don't have time or the ability or finances [to move]," she told PEOPLE, "and I don't think that's right or fair."
And now, thanks in part to their efforts, along with group Compassion & Choices, the bill has finally taken effect.
"For me, I'd say the primary feeling I have is I'm just immensely proud of Brittany," Diaz, who fought for the bill's passage, told PEOPLE.
"On days like this–when I reflect on her so much–I realize how much I miss her and wish she could be sitting here next to me and we both could be acknowledging the success of passing this law."
He also added, "These days I carry her driver's license in my wallet, with mine right behind it. Whenever I'm paying for something at the grocery store, I see her picture. I remember her day to day smile, her laugh, a conversation.
Video: Death With Dignity: The Impact That 1 Life Had On the Right-to-Die Movement
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