Fortunately, most of us reading this millennial-focused website have most of our lives in front of us, with time to figure out what we want to do with our futures and what dreams we will follow. But 29-year-old Brittany Maynard has a malignant brain tumor — she was diagnosed in April and given six months to live. At the time Maynard, a newlywed, was trying to start a family with her husband.
Instead of allowing her stage four glioblastoma to lead to a slow and painful death, Maynard is choosing to pass by taking lethal pills, prescribed by doctors, under the Death with Dignity Act. And just like her decision to end her life on her own terms, Brittany is fearlessly fighting for the right of others to die on their own terms.
Currently there are only five states, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont and New Mexico, that allow the terminally ill to receive a prescription for life-ending medication. Maynard believes that all those who are terminally ill should have the choice as to how to end their lives, regardless of the state in which they live. Maynard's own family had to completely uproot their lives to move from San Francisco to Oregon, just so that Brittany could have access to the Death with Dignity Act. But she recognizes that not all families have the resources, time, or ability to make such drastic chances, and is currently advocating for end-of-life choice laws to be implemented in California, Colorado, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Later this month she will give testimony via video to California legislators considering the laws to make aid in dying an authorized, regulated medical practice
Maynard has launched an online video campaign for Compassion & Choices, a non-profit organization that promotes death-with-dignity laws, and started her own fund, The Brittany Fund, which is raising money for Compassion & Choices.
Maynard makes it very clear that what she will do, and what she is supporting, is not suicide. She told People Magazine, "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."
Watch the video below to hear more of Brittany’s heartbreaking story.