A terminally ill 29-year-old woman has chosen November 1 as the day she will die.
Shortly after her wedding last year, Brittany Maynard began experiencing debilitating headaches.
While on vacation with her husband in January, Brittany was diagnosed with grade II Astrocytoma, a severe brain tumor.
Doctors told Maynard she had 10 years to live.
“I have to tell you,” she says in the video, “when you’re 29 years old, being told you have that kind of timeline still feels like being told you’re going to die tomorrow.”
Following the initial diagnosis, doctors said her cancer had progressed to Glioblastoma multiforme, the deadliest form of brain cancer. After treatment, the average life expectancy is only 14 months.
When doctors told Brittany her death would likely be slow and painful as the tumor continued to grow, she opted to choose her own ending.
On November 1, surrounded by her husband, mother and best friend, she will end her life using medication prescribed by her doctor. Maynard’s husband’s birthday is October 30.
The medication will give her a “peaceful and painless” ending to her life.
“I did not want this nightmare scenario for my family, so I started researching death with dignity,” she shared with CNN. “It is an end-of-life option for mentally competent, terminally ill patients with a prognosis of six months or less to live. It would enable me to use the medical practice of aid in dying: I could request and receive a prescription from a physician for medication that I could self-ingest to end my dying process if it becomes unbearable. I quickly decided that death with dignity was the best option for me and my family.”
“Now, I’m able to move forward in my remaining days or weeks I have on this beautiful Earth, to seek joy and love and to spend time traveling to outdoor wonders of nature with those I love. And I know that I have a safety net.”
Brittany said this is not a suicide.
“There is not a cell in my body that is suicidal or that wants to die,” Maynard told People.com. “I want to live. I wish there was a cure for my disease but there’s not. … Being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying.”
Maynard’s family moved with her to Oregon earlier this year so she would have access to Oregon’s “Death with Dignity Act,” which has allowed over 750 people to die using medication since 1997.
According to Compassion & Choices, Brittany will spend her last days fighting for others’ rights to end their lives.
“I hope for the sake of my fellow American citizens that I’ll never meet that this option is available to you,” she shared with CNN. “If you ever find yourself walking a mile in my shoes, I hope that you would at least be given the same choice and that no one tries to take it from you.”
“When my suffering becomes too great, I can say to all those I love, ‘I love you; come be by my side, and come say goodbye as I pass into whatever’s next.’ I will die upstairs in my bedroom with my husband, mother, stepfather and best friend by my side and pass peacefully. I can’t imagine trying to rob anyone else of that choice.”